Another opportunity to see legends perform

Even today, Tendulkar would like to tonk Warne all over the park and conversely, Warne would like to send Tendulkar back to the pavilion sooner than later. The ‘All Stars’ will provide all the elements that one gets to see in competitive sport with of course the limitations that middle-age brings about even in the best of sportsmen. Here’s a cricketer’s perspective.

Shane Warne adjusts his field during the first match of the All-Stars Series. The legends got a remarkable reception in New York.   -  REUTERS

There are many cricketers who at times have felt that there is more to life than cricket. But a very few firmly believed that everything is secondary to the game they are passionate about. Their dedication to the game bordered on obsession, which made them legends. The initiative of Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne to start an ‘All Stars’ league, comprising legends, shows that their passion for the game has still not evaporated. The legends turned out in the U. S. and the reception they got was remarkable. Now the question maybe, what is the point in them playing when they are way past their prime? The obvious answer is that they are looking to globalise the game and tap new markets.

As a former cricketer myself, will I see the ‘All Stars’ games? Yes, of course, simply because it will be interesting to see them in action once again. Having seen Sachin at close quarters and marvelled at his incredible ability, I would like to see him play the trademark straight drive down the ground just for the sheer pleasure of it. Similarly, seeing Wasim Akram run in rapidly to hurl the sphere will be a sight in itself. The ‘All Stars’ matches will provide me another opportunity to see the legends display the qualities that made them what they are — top notch legends.

 

As far as the fans are concerned, they will be delighted. But the biggest gainers will be the young adults, who may not have seen most of the guys, who are playing in these ‘All Stars’ matches. They would have heard a lot about the Laras, Donalds, Walshes to name a few, but now they can catch a glimpse of these stars — even if they are way past their prime. The physical intensity might be diluted, but the younger fans will get a fair idea about the inherent talent and genius of these super heroes.

What future the ‘All Stars’ cricket has remains to be seen, but the way the stadium was filled up to the brim in New York, it looks promising. The legends will definitely put in enough work to make this concept last a long time, but most importantly, they will provide the fans a great spectacle. Warne and Tendulkar have picked the right format as a T20 game will attract fans all over the world. In addition, this is the format that can help them globalise the sport as other formats may not attract enough interest due to its long duration.

The cynics may wonder if this concept is all about the former greats making some money, but one needs to bear in mind that all of them have played long enough and have made enough and more money. Moreover, they are individually marketable brands on their own and as such, they have various other ways and means to milk it. Post retirement, most of them have ventured into profitable businesses and hence, the idea of playing the game is all about passion and recreation.

The ‘All Stars’ games will provide an opportunity for former contemporaries and foes to catch up and have a good time. Oh yes, one can be rest assured that the matches will be played in the true spirit of the game, when there is no pressure to deliver for the country. This means that these legends will also influence the future generation in a positive fashion as I for one believe that sledging has no place in a game that is played for passion and enjoyment.

But don’t for one moment be under the impression that the competitive streak will be absent. Even today, Tendulkar would like to tonk Warne all over the park and conversely, Warne would like to send Tendulkar back to the pavilion sooner than later. The ‘All Stars’ will provide all the elements that one gets to see in competitive sport with of course the limitations that middle-age brings about even in the best of sportsmen.