We want to win hearts in America: Sachin Tendulkar on T20 series
Sachin Sachin chants will be back at the stadiums when batting legend Sachin Tendulkar walks out to lead his team Sachin Blasters during the three-match T20 exhibition tour of the United States of America next month.
Sachin Tendulkar with Australia's spin legend Shane Warne during the Lord’s bicentenary match between Marylebone Cricket Club and Rest of the World XI in London last year. Pic/AFP
Retired superstars (see box) of cricket will be back in action for the Cricket All-Stars Series 2015 — a brainchild of Shane Warne and Tendulkar.
The matches will be played at New York (November 7), Houston (November 11) and Los Angeles (November 14) which are all baseball venues.
Tendulkar was super excited about playing in front of American fans when the record-breaking batting maestro spoke to mid-day from Kochi yesterday.
On whether cricket can compete with other sports in USA:
It is not about competing, it is about establishing. What I want to do is raise the following of cricket and not bring down the following of baseball or basketball or rugby. Let all sports be right up there. By pulling someone down and competing, you don't become bigger. By getting better yourself, you become bigger. We want to focus on cricket and nothing else — encourage youngsters there to also pick up a cricket bat along with a baseball stick. We are never going to say to stop playing baseball… you should play baseball, but see how it feels to pick up a cricket bat and smash the ball for a six.
On holding the bat again:
I am excited about it. It will be fantastic to go out and play again. I have already started training a bit and will soon start practising. I am looking forward to it and it is going to be a lot of fun.
On playing in the backyard with son Arjun since retirement:
I haven't really (played). The last I played was at Lord's in the MCC bicentenary match (last year). That's where it all started. We (Tendulkar and Warne) enjoyed ourselves so much that (we thought) why not continue living our passion which is cricket, and get all the retired superstars together and travel around the world to play cricket. We want to get more people involved and play cricket.
On whether the fans' high expectations will be justified:
This is about promoting cricket. We will get competitive because we all have played tough, hard cricket. All are superstars and the whole world will be watching. We want to go out and give our best performance and make sure the spectators also enjoy. The guys will play tough cricket, but we are here to win hearts; we are here to enjoy cricket. We are not here to get into fights, no way.
On his first trip to America:
It was long back in 1990. We played one game in Toronto and another one in New York which wasn't of this level.
On playing at baseball venues:
It will be fantastic. I have played a couple of matches at baseball venues in Toronto and the spectators sit very close to the players. Their involvement will be much more.
> India: Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Ajit Agarkar
> Australia: Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, Glenn McGrath, Brad Haddin
> South Africa: Jacques Kallis, Shaun Pollock, Lance Klusener, Jonty Rhodes, Allan Donald
> England: Graeme Swann, Michael Vaughan
> West Indies: Brian Lara, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose
> Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mahela Jayawardene
> Pakistan: Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, Saqlain Mushtaq, Moin Khan