Former captain doesn’t believe veterans will attract crowds; ace spinner insists event will spread the game
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has said he cannot understand why would people want to watch retired players, while talking about the three-match Twenty20 exhibition series to be played in America next month.
Cricket All-Stars Series 2015 will witness three matches between Sachin’s Blasters vs Warne’s Warriors at New York, Houston and Los Angeles.
Shane Warne during the 2013 Big Bash League. Pic/Getty images
In ‘Chappelli Calls It’, a video series on ESPN Cricinfo, Chappell said: “I’ve always thought that the reason for retiring is that you wanted to stop playing. The other thing I don’t understand is why people want to watch older cricketers. But that’s just me. Once I retired, I didn’t want to play any cricket at all. Obviously, everyone is a bit different”.
Chappell stressed that Warne was not at his best when he played the Big Bash. “At the end of his time with the Melbourne Stars, Warne was struggling in the field as you would expect with someone in their 40s. Your back gives you trouble, you can’t bend over as easily, catches that you used to take very easily you can’t get down very far to take them. You start to look like what you are, an old cricketer.”
Warne, who has shared a good relationship with Chappell over the years, disagreed with the Sydney-based former batsman. “I think it’s a bit harsh for Chaps to say that. I would have thought he would have seen the bigger picture about spreading the game of cricket globally, and that actually we’re doing a good thing if we make sure these games are fun and entertaining,” the iconic leg-spinner was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.
He added: “There are a lot of people in America that have never seen some of their idols play. They’ve got their chance for the first time to come to the stadiums and actually see some of their heroes play. I think that’s a very exciting thing. We’re going to be putting on free coaching clinics for schools, all sorts of stuff. I think it’s disappointing that Ian has that view.”
Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Glenn McGrath, Brad Haddin are the other Australians who will be part of this event while Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Ajit Agarkar make up the Indian group.
‘Didn’t watch Lillee at 40’
Chappell recalled Dennis Lillee making a comeback at 40 to play for Tasmania in the Sheffield Shield in 1987-88. “I didn’t want to see Lillee play at 40. I have an image in my mind of Dennis Lillee as a fast bowler and that’s an image that will stay with me for the rest of my life. I don’t want to see Dennis Lillee as a medium pacer.
“Personally, I don’t want to see players of the ilk of Warne, Tendulkar and Lara. I have the image in my mind of those players at their peak and it’s a great image. I don’t want to see an old cricketer, but that’s just me. I wouldn’t shell out money to go and watch them play… certainly wouldn’t turn on the television to watch them play.”
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