For a few hours on Saturday, New York’s Citi Field was soaked in nostalgia. Waves and waves of cricket fans (large numbers wearing Indian and Pakistani jerseys) wound the clock back to the 1990s and early 2000s and cheered on players who had meant so much to them in their impressionable years. For those between 20 and 30, this was a return to their childhood, watching players who they had imitated in their backyards with their first cricket kit. For those between 30 and 40, it was a return to their adolescence, a time when they had sought out heroes and aspired to world dominance.
Virender Sehwag, Brian Lara, Shane Warne, Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar: mad cheers. Sachin Tendulkar: the stadium shook.
The final result, in case you were wondering: Warne’s Warriors beat Sachin’s Blasters by six wickets. The stadium was small, the setting intimate – Ricky Ponting admitted that it was the first time in his life that a fan had clicked a selfie with him when he was fielding at the boundary. Most of the former fast bowlers used short run-ups and were mostly military medium (though Shoaib cranked it up for a few overs, getting Kumar Sangakkara and Matthew Hayden with short ones, and hurrying Jonty Rhodes with a sharp bouncer). Had Curtly Ambrose and Courtney Walsh faced their own bowling, they might have fancied getting half-centuries. And Allan Donald has not only halved his run-up but also his pace.