In a room overlooking the flashing lights of New York’s Times Square, Warne kept hearing Aussie names.
The draw was held to decide the make-up of the teams for Warne’s Warriors versus Indian champion Sachin Tendulkar’s Blasters at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets baseball team, on Saturday.
A who’s who of players flew in from around the globe for the Twenty20 exhibition, but despite Warne and Tendulkar pulling names out of a large trophy randomly, a theme emerged.
“Should we rename this series Australia versus The Rest?” joked the event’s host, Welsh-born cricket commentator Alan Wilkins.
Matthew Hayden will open the batting for Warne.
At first drop? Well, how about Ricky Ponting?
Warne shook his head and laughed when he pulled out his all rounder – another Aussie team-mate Andrew Symonds.
“This is 100 per cent random,” an exasperated Warne laughed.
Adding to the humour, when Warne did draw a non-Aussie it was largely from England, South Africa or New Zealand whereas Tendulkar’s team was filled with stars from the Indian subcontinent.
“Are you OK with a New Zealander?” Wilkins asked Warne when he drew Kiwi Daniel Vettori.
Most of the players have larger bellies and lost a little hair – or maybe even grown an interesting ponytail like West Indies pace bowler Curtly Ambrose – but the line-ups of both teams had the packed room of mostly Indian reporters salivating.
There was one Aussie who will be suiting up with Tendulkar, quick Glenn McGrath.
“He’s always been on the other team,” Ponting joked.
Warne’s Warrior batting order is: Warne; Hayden; Michael Vaughn; Jonty Rhodes; Jacques Kallis; Symonds; Kumar Sangakara; Saqlain Mushtaq; Daniel Vettori; Courtney Walsh; Wasim Akram; Allan Donald; and Ajit Agarkar.
Tendulkar’s Blasters are: Virender Sehwag; VVS Laxman; Brian Lara; Saurav Ganguly; Mahela Jayawardene; Carl Hooper; Moin Khan; Muttiah Murlitharan; Graeme Swann; Curtly Ambrose; Shaun Pollock; Lance Klusener; Shoaib Akhtar; McGrath.
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