New Delhi: Sachin Tendulkar says he wants to promote cricket in the United States by engaging the huge South Asian diaspora there through the T20 series for former stars in his endeavour to globalise the sport.
Come November, and 'Sachin's Blasters' will take on 'Warne's Warriors' in a three-match T20 series 'Cricket All-Stars Series 2015'. The other two matches will be held in Houston and Los Angeles on November 9 and 11.
"During last year's MCC bicentenary match at Lord's, I realised that all of us, I mean the former cricketers still have a lot of passion left. We realised that crowds still come and fill up the stadiums when we play. Then I felt that we could continue with our passion and also promote cricket in different parts of the world," Tendulkar told PTI during an exclusive interaction on Tuesday.
While there has been an official ODI game between New Zealand and West Indies, played at Florida, the United States remains an unchartered territory for cricket even as the likes of Tendulkar, Warne, Curtly Ambrose, Ricky Ponting get ready to enthrall their fans in this part of the world.
Asked if Tendulkar's presence will open the American market for Indian cricket, his response was a cautious one.
"I don't know whether it will open the market for India but the basic idea is to get the locals excited and get them involved with the game of cricket. This is an ideal opportunity to globalise the game. It gives us opportunity to take cricket in the United States," Tendulkar said.
Asked about the famous Sachin Tendulkar-Sourav Ganguly combination opening the batting against Glenn McGrath and Curtly Ambrose, Tendulkar laughed and said, "That is precisely the idea of these matches. I have so many friends in the United States and there are so many people who are cricket fans. However, many of them have never got a chance to watch us live in action.
"Many of friends would travel to India to watch me play, but this will give an opportunity to all of them to watch all these superstars live in action," said Tendulkar.
Not someone to take even exhibition games lightly, Tendulkar has started light training and he intends to build it up as time progresses.
"Well, I haven't started practising with that intensity but it is a slow start. I gradually plan to build it up," he sounded as focussed as ever as he gets ready for some intensive net session at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai.
When asked if he would train with the Mumbai Ranji team, he explained, "No, it would be wrong to disturb Mumbai Ranji team's training schedule. Also I need to do T20 specific training and they are playing Ranji Trophy. But yes, I would love to be around the Mumbai Ranji team," said the maestro.
For the 42-year-old iconic batsman, it will also be a "challenge" to play in stadiums which are originally meant for baseball.
"It's not the first time that I will be playing matches in baseball stadiums. Way back in 1990 and 1994, I had played a couple of matches at Skyzone stadium in Canada. Since these are not proper international cricket Stadiums (NY's Citi Field, Minute Maid Park in Houston and LA Dodgers' Stadium), one needs to adjust to the angles.
"But then since the spectators sit very near to the boundary line, you get a feeling that you can engage with the crowd which is also important," Tendulkar signed off.