Citi Field hosts Cricket All-Star Series opener
Fast-paced T20 match first of three to be played in big league ballparks
Baseball season is over, but there will be bats and balls and runs scored at Citi Field on Saturday afternoon.
The inaugural Cricket All-Star Series, headlined by some of the sport's biggest stars, is scheduled to begin Saturday at 1 p.m. ET at Citi Field in New York. The three-game series will also tour through Houston and Los Angeles.
The teams will be led by India's Sachin Tendulkar, the most prolific run producer in the history of cricket, and Australia's Shane Warne, considered one of the best spin bowlers ever. This series will be the first time either cricket legend has ever played in the United States. The game format will be a quicker version of cricket known as Twenty20, or T20 for short.
Tendulkar made his cricket debut at 16 years old and went on to represent India internationally for more than 20 years. He was a part of the Indian team that won the 2011 World Cup. He announced his retirement from all forms of cricket in 2013. After a successful career that began in 1992, Warne retired from international cricket in 2007.
Tendulkar and Warne will serve as captains, and the teams were selected through a random draw on Thursday in Times Square.
"Tendulkar's Master Blasters" and "Warne's Warriors" will consist of some of cricket's best retired players from all over the world, including Wasim Akram (Pakistan), Brian Lara (West Indies), Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka), Jonty Rhodes (South Africa), Michael Vaughan (England) and Sir Curtly Ambrose (West Indies).
There are different types of cricket matches. A test match, which is what Americans typically think of when they hear about cricket, can last up to five days and includes lunch and tea breaks. A limited-overs match is designed to be completed in a single day, with each team seeing 300 balls (pitches).
In a T20 game, each team sees 120 balls. This format has grown exponentially in popularity because the relatively small number of pitches leads to aggressive batting, and it is usually completed in about three hours.
"To globalise the game, I feel T20 is the right format," Tendulkar told ESPNcricinfo.com on Thursday. "The format is fast, it's gripping, it's got lot of energy and invariably the finishes are real close. Very rarely you get to see a one-sided game, which is what people like to see. Toward the end of most T20 games, every ball matters."
The series will continue at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday and conclude at Dodger Stadium on Nov. 14.
Sachin Tendulkar (captain)
Sir Curtly Ambrose
Moin Khan (wicketkeeper)
Shane Warne (captain)
Kumar Sangakkara (wicketkeeper)