A cavalcade of the game’s greats will turn back the clock next year after Shane Warne announced his Cricket Superstars initiative would continue in 2017.
The legendary leg-spinner, who took 708 wickets from 145 Tests, landed decorated figures such as Brian Lara, Sachin Tendulkar, Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting, Glenn McGrath, Wasim Akram, VVS Laxman and Kumar Sangakkara to the inaugural event last year.
Warne’s Warriors took on Tendulkar Blasters in a three-match Twenty20 series in the US, with Warne’s team prevailing 3-0.
The champions treated crowds in New York, Houston and Los Angeles to plenty of entertainment over eight days.
Australia's Mitchell Johnson, Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds are among those set to take part in next year’s tournament, with matches slated to be contested in October and November.
New Zealand's Brendon McCullum, England's Kevin Pietersen, South Africa’s Graeme Smith and Pakistan's Shahid Afridi have also been confirmed.
Warne has not yet confirmed where the matches will take place – the only clue being that they would be staged at “major international cities within non-traditional cricket markets”.
“Great news for cricket lovers around the world who have never seen their heroes play live or only saw them for the first time play last year in the USA,” Warne wrote on his Instagram page.
“The Cricket Superstars is excited to announce that it's back again in 2017 & it's a huge pleasure to announce these players who have signed up to play with more legends to announce soon.”
Others to commit include Shoaib Akhtar (Pak), Mahela Jayawardena (SL), Shaun Pollock (SA), Michael Vaughan (Eng), Graeme Swann (Eng), Jonty Rhodes (SA), Daniel Vettori (NZ), Darren Gough (Eng), Allan Donald (SA) and Stephen Fleming (NZ).
“Cricket Superstars is set to kick off with three matches in September/October 2017 & will be held at major international cities within non-traditional cricket markets,” Warne wrote on his Facebook page.
“We look forward to seeing you all at the games. More details coming soon re tickets and venues.”
The Cricket Superstars concept was born after a match between a Rest of the World side led by Warne and Sachin and a Marylebone Cricket Club team captained by Tendulkar attracted a sold out crowd at Lord’s in 2014 to celebrate 200 years of the MCC.
“We've signed 28 players for 156 games over three years,” Warne told cricket.com.au last year.
“They'll be in America and somewhere else – we're still working out where that will be. We've had some offers from Canada, we've had some offers from Abu Dhabi from the tourism people wanting us to come.
“Hopefully one day we can come to Australia, go to England, India, all the cricket-playing nations.
“So we'll weigh all that up but at the moment it's all about the All-Stars in America, just get this done and weigh up the next step.”
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