Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar will captain opposing teams in a three-match T20 exhibition tour of the USA next month. The matches will be played in New York, Houston and Los Angeles and the event, titled "Cricket All-Stars Series 2015", will feature more than two dozen retired internationals from other Test nations.
The matches will take place on November 7 at New York's Citi Field, November 11 at Houston's Minute Maid Park and November 14 at Los Angeles' Dodger Stadium. The first two games are slated to be played in the daytime while the final game at Dodger Stadium is scheduled to be played under the lights at the 56,000 capacity facility.
"To make history in America playing these cricket games, myself and Sachin walking out and tossing the coin in New York at Citi Field, will be a pretty epic moment," Warne told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Warne had said in June that Chicago's Wrigley Field would also be a venue during the tour, but those plans were scrapped while an earlier proposal to play at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx had also been ditched in favor of Citi Field located in the New York City borough of Queens.
All three facilities are baseball stadiums - occupied by the NY Mets, Houston Astros and LA Dodgers - and according to sources, drop-in pitches will be used with the strips being laid from second base extending out toward the centre field wall.
Apart from the captains whose teams are named "Sachin's Blasters" and "Warne's Warriors", the event website lists 26 other players who are set to take part including Brian Lara and Wasim Akram. Besides Tendulkar, three former Indian team-mates join him on the exhibition roster: Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman and Ajit Agarkar. Four other Australians are also listed to join Warne: Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Glenn McGrath and Brad Haddin.
According to a list obtained by ESPNcricinfo, nine other players were also tentatively included to take part: Anil Kumble, Andy Flower, Sanath Jayasuriya, Shahid Afridi, Waqar Younis, Andrew Flintoff, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee and Michael Hussey. However, Younis will be coaching Pakistan against England in the UAE throughout November while Mahela Jayawardene, one of the players included in the main list of 26, is also in the UAE in a consultant role with England but is understood to be leaving after the first Test ends on October 17.
This is the first attempt at a revenue-generating cricket foray in the USA since a pair of Twenty20 matches were played between West Indies and New Zealand in June 2012 at the Central Broward Regional Park in Lauderhill, Florida. The 15,000 capacity facility is the only ICC ODI-certified cricket specific stadium in the USA, but will not be used for any of the T20 exhibition matches.