Television

Star India to promote Tendulkar-Warne promoted T-20 series?

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MUMBAI: The game of cricket is all set to get bigger and better. Cricketing demigods Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne have reportedly teamed up with Rupert Murdoch?s News Corp to establish a new Twenty20 cricket league for former international players renowned for their contribution to the sport.

As per media reports, the Tendulkar - Warne joint innovation called Cricket All Stars League is set to roll as early as September 2015 in the US and in all likelihood  will air on Star India?s sports venture Star Sports. India's leading broadcast network also holds the broadcasting rights of Indian cricket and other ICC tournaments. 

Cricket All Stars League will have veterans from across the globe and the tournament will be organised by keeping cricket regulatory boards like International Cricket Council (ICC), Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), Cricket Australia (CA) and Wales Cricket Board (WCB) in the loop.

The league envisages 15 matches being played over a period of four years. Tendulkar and Warne have reportedly made an offer of between $25,000 per match to retired players like Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, Michael Vaughan, Andrew Flintoff and Jacques Kallis.

Unlike the Indian Premier League (IPL), where there are eight teams participating, Cricket All Stars League will have 28 players equally divided into two teams.

A senior media planning and buying executive, who closely deals with sports tells Indiantelevision.com, ?If Sachin and Warne come together and start a league involving legends like Ponting, Flintoff, Dravid, it is obvious that it will get viewership. Now if it is happening in New York as reports are suggesting then the timings can emerge as an issue. Overall, it is very early to predict a future but if Sachin himself plays and gets his close buddies like Sourav, Dravid, Laxman and Kumble in, Indian cricket lovers? admiration for him will grow further as no one ever expected to see the legends playing again. If Indian legends get involved in it and Star airs it, I see a flurry of advertisers, who will be ready to pay anything.?

A cricket expert was of the opinion that the innovation can popularize cricket in the United States and unless it forces a player to leave national commitments in order to participate in the league, it is a good move. 

?The coming together of legends is always big. Two names Sachin and Warne successfully grabbed attention of so many people. Now add Ponting, Flintoff, Kumble, Lee and see the prodigy and magnitude. Shane Warne?s post earlier this year hinted that a joint venture from them was coming but the success will be determined by the participation. If a noble cause is associated with it, I see legends participating but I doubt that a two-time world champion captain Ricky Ponting will be a part of something only for money. So we should wait before drawing conclusions. Retired players? participation for financial purposes can put a question mark on their legacy and hence it remains to be seen how many agree to participate. However, if Sachin himself decides to play, I don?t see any of these arguments coming in.?

As reported by Cricket.com.au, Cricket Australia and the International Cricket Council denied any knowledge of the proposal for the Cricket All Stars League. However, a CA spokesman suggested it could be a positive way to promote and grow the game in new or emerging markets - as long as it didn't poach contracted international players.

Brett Lee?s manager Neil Maxwell confirmed that Tendulkar and Warne had approached his client and that Lee would be seeking clearance from Cricket Australia to play in the league. ?I can?t see anything wrong with it, it?s a group of retired blokes playing a game of cricket,? Maxwell told Fox Sports.

With sports broadcasting on the rise in India, a property such as this, if done right, has the potential to garner enormous attention and emerge as a prime broadcasting asset for broadcasters, advertisers and cricket fanatics alike.

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