Sachin Tendulkar Hopes to Set Cricket Ablaze in the USA

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By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON:  It is a lament that most people hear from those who have just retired, but not one that you expected coming from Sachin Tendulkar. “I never thought my life would be so hectic after retirement!” he said from Mumbai in an exclusive telephone interview with Indo American News this past Tuesday night, October 19.

But busy is exactly what the former batsman for the Indian cricket squad has been since he decided to put away his bat in 2012 after playing for 24 years. Crowned the “God of Cricket” by millions of fans worldwide for his unwavering, endless runs that rose to over 34,000 in international cricket, Tendulkar has stepped into what he terms his “second innings” in retirement.

In the past two years, Tendulkar has become a Member of Parliament of the Rajya Sabha (Upper House); adopted a village Puttamraju Kandriga in Nellore district for significant development and enhancement of quality of life of the villagers; co-promoted the Kerala Blasters, a football team which is part of the Indian Super League; been selected by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to promote the cause of Swaach Bharat; become the Regional Goodwill Ambassador of the UNICEF; become involved in an initiative called Spreading Happiness in association with Schneider Electric to bring solar lighting to remote villages and is involved in an initiative called Sports for All to encourage people to be engaged in active sports.

No wonder Tendulkar thinks his life is hectic! And as if that wasn’t enough, he has begun an initiative to bring the game he loves and has been the key to his fame to the masses in the US. Tendulkar and a squad of 27 other layers will be barnstorming through three cities in the US in November to play in the All-Star T20 (Twenty20 cricket, a shorter version of the games that lasts three hours) exhibition matches at New York’s Citi Field (7 November), Minute Maid Park in Houston (11 November) and Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles (14 November).

“It all started last year after we played an exhibition match at Lord’s in London,” recalled Tendulkar. “The other players said ‘Why don’t we do this again elsewhere?’ It was so much fun with no stress and everyone was excited. In fact, some asked ‘What took you so long?!” he added and the old passion for the sport came through over the phone line. “I love anything to do with sports and want to do my part to promote them.”

Since the games to be played out in baseball stadiums, some of the fielders will be very close to the spectators and Tendulkar thinks that would be a good thing, allowing the players to interact with them and even joke around. He believes that the time is right for cricket to take off in the US “since there are sports fanatics in America and our Indian people will be a significant force in building cricket up here.”

His friends in the US – some are helping to organize these matches – encouraged him to come with the 27 other retired cricketers from around the world. The draw will be held on November 2 in New York at a media event. The tour has been organized by the New York based marketing firm Leverage Agency  whose chief executive Ben Sturner expects to turn a profit in the first year if the stadiums fill up. The three locations were picked for their sizable South Asian populations and the keen interest in cricket there.

“People have often seen cricket on the television, but here they will be able to see live action at the stadium which many have not seen before in the US,” said Tendulkar. In doing so, he hopes to convert even some mainstreamers to put down their baseball bats and pick up a cricket bat. In addition, in each city, the organizers will hold cricket clinics and hand out a Cricket 101 booklet.

The teams will arrive in Houston on Monday, November 9. Tickets are on sale now from $50 to 350 and can be bought on-line at

Indo American News will also be raffling off tickets through its news outlets. Email for more details and watch more news.