In the climax of the Hollywood musical, Mary Poppins Returns, the eponymous English nanny turns the clock, the famed Big Ben of London, back by five minutes. Miss Poppins, played by the delightful Emily Blunt, had the magical powers to do that.
Over the next few days at the Al Amerat Cricket Stadium, the clock will turn several times over in the inaugural edition of the Legends League Cricket. The three teams – India Maharaja, Asia Lions and World Giants – feature some of the all-time cricketing greats.
The teams will play each other twice before the final on January 29.
The Indian team includes Virender Sehwag, who is expected to join after missing the first few games, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Mohammed Kaif, Irfan Pathan and Nayan Mongia.
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The Asia Lions comprises men from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. It features Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi, Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Mohammed Hafeez, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mohammed Yousuf, Misbah ul Haq, Habibul Bashar and Ashgar Afghan.
The World Giants are Kevin Pietersen, Jonty Rhodes, Brett Lee, Daren Sammy, Imran Tahir, Herschelle Gibbs, Daniel Vettori, Morne Morkel, Brendan Taylor, Kevin O’Brien and Monty Panesar.
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Some players have only recently retired and look fit enough for the franchise leagues. Many of them may have bid goodbye a while ago and taken up coaching and commentating jobs, but they could still replay from memory and produce those scintillating strokes and magic balls.
The matches will be aired live by Sony Ten 1 and Sony Ten 3.
The writer is in Muscat at the invitation of Legends League Cricket