The All Stars 2015 - When the old became young again
Both the stars can be very proud of what they achieved through this tournament, leaving the country with fond memories to cherish forever. Some childish, some serious.
It was that time of the year in the United States where any person could see the excitement on the faces of many people on the streets, in offices, in trams or anywhere in the country. Posters were getting ready, news spreading across fast. It was not that time when the polls were happening, nor the time when a football match was happening and neither was a gripping baseball match was taking place.
No. It was a feeling that had come into the US just like when a mother sees her newborn child – something quite new had come into the USA. It was officially announced that during the second week of November, history would be created, when the retired gems from the cricketing industry would come and wield their bats, bowl their best and would be showcasing what they could do in their yesteryears.
The All Stars cricket tournament, studded with 28 great cricketing names, was going to be hosted by three major league baseball stadiums in the US.
A dream come true
It was a dream come true for many die-hard cricket fans, and many aspiring cricketers who flocked in to see their favourite cricket stars once again replenishing their old rivalries in a 3-match t20 series. This was the brainchild of two of the great names in cricket, Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne. The tournament was going to be a platform for some of the greatest cricket players to have played in the game.
Blimey! Didn’t it live up to its name? It sure did. It was a sight to see for sore eyes – the enthusiastic, fun-loving nature that these role models had attached to their game even after having hung up their boots. They were all there, from all countries, playing to provide entertainment that was worth the price of the tickets without any grimaces of pain or any regrets. Everybody had come in to have some fun.
The tournament was subdivided into 2 teams, namely Sachin’s Blasters and Warne Warriors, which were captained by Sachin and Warne respectively. The teams boasted of some of the top notch names like Wasim Akram, Sourav Ganguly, Ricky Ponting, Shoaib Akthar, Jacques Kallis, Matthew Hayden, Curtly Ambrose, Muttiah Muralitharan, Shaun Pollock, Brian Lara and many other greats.
The first game of the series was played at the New York City Field, where the Warne Warriors went one up in the series, beating the Sachin’s Blasters comfortably to coast to a 6 wicket win, with Ponting scoring a fluent 48 and Warne picking 3 crucial wickets.
Akram vs Sehwag. Sachin vs Warne. Akhtar vs Hayden. This was the scene where the majority Asian crowd was present to watch Sachin blast his way through, only to see the magician in Warne coming out to wield some old time magic. The first match was successfully broadcasted and the turnout was estimated to be around 20,000 people.
Fond memories to cherish
The bandwagon then moved to the Minute Maid Park in Houston, where again the crowd was expected to be in great numbers, given that it was Diwali night. Warne Warriors were one step ahead of the Blasters here too. They scored 262 in their allotted 20 overs with Kumar Sangakkara always in line to be the man of the match for his blistering 70 of 30 balls, laced with 6 sixes and a matching number of Fours. At the end of it, the Blasters folded up for 205, giving a handsome 57-run win to the Warriors.
The third and final match happened at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, where one person could certainly be deafened by the screams when Sachin chose the right side of the coin. As it was to be, the Blasters were yet again overshadowed by the might of the ever fit players of the Warriors and the seeming unwillingness to let go.
Batting first, the Blasters blasted their way through to a fighting total of 219 with Sachin and Ganguly providing some entertainment. Warriors then easily romped home in style with the captain himself finishing it off with a six over the midwicket fielder. This ended what was a memorable tournament for both the teams, which ended up being whitewashed by the Warriors 3-0.
Just like the way the tournament started with a bang with both the captains ringing the bell at the NY Stock Exchange, it finished with a bang. There were laughs all around, with players enjoying this series and providing ultimate entertainment to viewers across the globe. Each shot was treated with cheers as loud as the other, each wicket with moans.
Each player was given respect regardless of what age or which country he came from. Tendulkar and Warne had been emphasising that this was their attempt to globalise cricket, a serious venture where they hope to inspire kids and introduce Americans to the game.
He said he wanted to see many young Americans play the game at some point in the future and the stars also spent some quality time with kids in New York and Houston. Both the stars can be very proud of what they achieved through this tournament, leaving the country with fond memories to cherish forever. Some childish, some serious.