The holder of the record for the highest individual score in Test and first-class cricket and the only player to reach the 13,000-run and 300-wicket mark in One-Day International cricket will attempt to rekindle – for a few hours – the flame that illuminated cricket grounds around the world for nearly two decades.
Brian Lara and Sanath Jayasuriya, who are both 42 and a few seasons past their glory years, headline an All-Star line-up that will appear in a Twenty/20 match on May 12 at Rogers Centre.
A former West Indies captain, Lara registered 11,953 runs in 131 Tests and 10,405 runs in 299 One Day Internationals before retiring in April 2007. India’s Sachin Tendulkar and the recently retired Rahul Dravid, former Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting and South African all-rounder Jacques Kallis are the only other players with more Test runs than Lara who scored an undefeated 400 against England in 2004 and 501 not out for Warwickshire against Durham in an English County match 10 years earlier.
Lara will captain an International XI that includes Barbadians Dwayne Smith and Tino Best against an Asian side skippered by Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi.
Former Canadian captain Ashish Bagai and all-rounder Rizwan Cheema, New Zealanders Mark Boucher and Jacob Oram, South African wicketkeeper/batsman Mark Boucher and Zimbabwean Brendan Taylor are in the International side while Pakistanis Misbah-ul-Haq, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Akmal and Mohammed Sami, India’s Sunil Joshi and Tamil Iqbal of Bangladesh have been named in the Asian squad.
Zimbabwean-born organizer Herb Choga told Share that the players named so far have signed contracts.
“We just have a few spots to fill and we expect to complete the negotiations soon with the players we are looking at,” he said.
Noga said former Zimbabwe player and selector Alistair Campbell was instrumental in securing the players.
“He has a company that promotes Twenty/20 cricket and he has a lot of contacts out there,” said Choga “We have decided to use his expertise to track down and gain the commitment of the players.”
Choga added that organizers are working on importing a turf wicket for the event that starts at 3 p.m.
“We are looking at several options and a decision on that will be made shortly,” he said.
Choga is the president of Mississauga-based Kat Rose Inc. which organizes business conferences and seminars. This is their first foray into a sports event.
“I come from a cricket-playing country and I follow the sport,” he said. “Originally, we wanted to put on a tournament with different countries, but there are no facilities here at this time of year to stage such an event. The next best thing was to put on an exhibition game with an All-Star concept.”
Mushtaq Mohammad, who played 57 Tests for Pakistan, will manage the Asian XI while Grant Flower who appeared in 67 Tests and 221 One Day Internationals for Zimbabwe, will be in charge of the International XI.
By RON FANFAIR