‘Please Love Me’: The Inherent Sadness of a Legends T20 Competition

There’s a new T20 competition in the works, if reports are to be believed. Only this time, it’s going to involve all the players you grew up with.

Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar have been contacting a raft of recently retired international cricketers to take part in their Cricket All Stars League.

The plan is to hold a series of matches around the world over a three-and-a-half-year period, with the USA to host the first series in September. Warne and Tendulkar are the key promoters, using their star power to haul in other recent retirees for this exhibition tournament at the tasty offer of US$25,000 per match.

While it will be “nice” to see these players come together for a hit and giggle, there’s something inherently sad about it all.

The tournament is being marketed as an attempt to make in-roads into the US market. But these players surely don’t care about convincing little Tyler or Madison to take up cricket instead of baseball.

So let’s call this what it is: a junket.

You can picture it now: a bunch of bloated middle-aged men jogging around the field at 50% effort, all smug in-jokes and elbows. One-liners delivered into the stump mic. Knowing glances to the cameras. Pocketing pay-checks. All designed to preserve their relevance in the eyes of you, the faithful fan. Remember us? You loved us. And now we’re back!

This Legends competition will be a study of relevance deprivation syndrome and the milking of ever-diminishing returns on fame.

Of course Warne is interested in launching such a league. Firstly, it represents another dodgy commercial vehicle to make money off his image.

But more importantly, it allows him to travel the globe, wandering from port to port, hocking his sexual wares to whoever deigns to swipe right on his Tinder profile. This is his chance to finally break the American market. Also, America is choc-full of great casinos, so there will be plenty to do between games.

If there’s anything sadder than a bunch of retired internationals playing meaningless games of cricket in front of bemused American audiences in half-filled stadiums, I’m yet to see it.

What’s even sadder is that I’ll probably watch the shit out of this if they happen to land a broadcasting deal.

By Dave Edwards

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