New York: Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar and legendary Australian spinner Shane Warne on Friday rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange, becoming the first cricketers to perform the ceremonial activity at the world's largest stock exchange.
Tendulkar and Warne are in the US as captains of an inaugural all-star line-up of 28 cricket legends from across the world for the first ever 'Cricket All Stars' series in the US.
Tendulkar and Warne visited the stock exchange along with their teammates to highlight the inaugural cricket series which will take place in New York, Houston and Los Angeles. They rang the opening bell at 9:30m New York time that will mark the start of the trading day.
The historic tour marks the first time Tendulkar and Warne will play on US soil.
The 'Cricket All-Stars' kicks off on November 7 at Citi Field in New York City with a special opening ceremony prior to the match as well as other functions and galas.
The second match will be on November 11 in Houston and the final match in the series will be on November 14 in Los Angeles, followed by a special trophy presentation to the winning team.
In the past, several Indian dignitaries, including political leaders and businessmen, have rung the opening and closing bell at the stock exchange and at NASDAQ.
Given that cricket is not a popular sport in America, it was the first time that cricketers will ring the ceremonial bell at the stock exchange.
Through extensive promotions and media appearances, Tendulkar said the idea behind the series is not only to popularise the game in America but to globalise it as there is need to have more countries play the sport competitively in tournaments like the World Cup.
"The reason for picking up a cricket bat again after retirement is to globalise cricket. That is a dream and vision Warne and I have. One day we would like the American (cricket) team also to participate in the World Cup. It would be a great moment. All cricketers have also been endorsing for having cricket in the Olympics. This is the beginning," Tendulkar told reporters yesterday.
The first match in the cricket series will be played in the 45000 seater Citi Field, the home of Major League Baseball's New York Mets.
The teams -- 'Sachin's Blasters and Warne's Warriors' -- will play the Twenty20 format. The players were assigned to the two teams through a draw of lots.
Tendulkar's team includes Indian opening batsman Virender Sehwag, former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly, V V S Laxman, West Indian Brian Lara, Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar, Moin Khan, former Sri Lankan cricket team captain Mahela Jayawardene, Lankan bowling legend Muttiah Muralitharan and former Australian cricketer Glenn McGrath.
Warne's team includes Ajit Agarkar, former Pakistani captain Wasim Akram, former Australian players Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting, former South Africa cricketer Jonty Rhodes, former captain of the Sri Lankan team Kumar Sangakkara, Pakistani cricketer Saqlain Mushtaq and former Australian cricket team all-rounder Andrew Symonds.