Globally acclaimed cricket celebrities Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar have begun their three year tour around the world, and their first stop is the US. The team of cricketers includes other great players of the last few decades – Brian Lara, Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Carl Hooper from West Indies; Pakistani speedsters Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar, Batsmen Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman from India and Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
The team faced a tumultuous reception at their press conference in New York, and was ambushed by fans and reporters for autographs and statements. The cricketers could not have been happier with the response.
“Americans are very interested, very keen and there’s lots who have bought tickets,” said Warne.
Tendulkar talked about how the game was first played in America in 1759 and had already generated 10000 fans by 1860. Even so, the game failed to generate the same popularity as, say soccer, in most parts of the country, where it still remains an alien concept. The fact is further illustrated by Micheal Parkinson’s popular anecdote about how when explaining the rules of cricket to an American passenger seating next to him in a flight, he received a hilarious question by the baffled traveler: “Wow, they do that all on horseback?”
But the crowd has given a warm welcome to the Circket All-Stars tour. The first game will be played at Citi Field in Queens, on Saturday.