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India-Pak relations need to improve, says Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne during a media conference, in New York on Monday

New York: Advocating the need for improvement in relations between India and Pakistan, Sachin Tendulkar said that if the governments of the two countries feel a bilateral cricket series is the "ideal way" to move forward, then it should be held.

According to Sachin, the ball is entirely on the respective governments' court to take a call on the resumption of bilateral cricket ties. "These are issues which the two countries' governments need to decide," the legend said.

"Also, I think that the relations between India and Pakistan need to improve. If the governments feel that cricket is the ideal way to move forward and the Boards too feel so, I do not see any reason why India and Pak should not play.

"But if the governments feel it is inappropriate, then we have to abide by them," The Master added.

Sachin is here along with Australian spin legend Shane Warne for the inaugural 'Cricket All Stars 2015', a three-city Twenty20 rubber involving retired stars of the game. The series, brainchild of Sachin and Warne, will bring together 28 of the biggest names of the game, including former India captain Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Sri Lankan spin legend Muttiah Muralidharan, former West Indian captain Brian Lara, and former Pakistan pacers Wasim Akram and Shoaib Akhtar.

The first match of the series between Sachin's Blasters and Warne's Warriors will be played in the 45,000-seater Citi Field, the home of Major League Baseball's New York Mets.

Talking about the series, Sachin said it aims to globalise cricket. According to Sachin, through the series, the aim is to introduce more people to the game and encourage youngsters in the US aspiring to play the game in future. Sachin said that the US women's cricket team will join the 28 players and practise with them.

In addition, about thousand young aspiring cricketers will be in the stands to watch the cricket legends play and get inspired by them. "It is all about having dreams and if these aspiring youngsters tomorrow play cricket for America, I will be very happy," he said.

"When we come here the next time, I hope to see kids carrying cricket bats as well along side their baseball kits." Sachin stressed that the series is not aimed to compete with other popular sports played in the US. "America is a sports-loving nation. We want to introduce one more sport to them," he said.

Sachin, who retired from cricket in 2013, said going forward, the players want to play more matches but they also want to be well prepared and not have too much on the plate. "We want youngsters to come and join us while we are practising, encourage them to spend more time with the great players of the last 20 years and understand about cricket.

"It's all about sharing knowledge and we are more than happy to do that," he said. Sachin believes that Twenty20 cricket is exciting and the "perfect format" to be introduced in the US. He cited the example of several of his friends who had come to the US in the 1990s and had no idea about games like baseball.

He said they learnt the games from their American friends who took them to stadiums and taught them about baseball and other American sports. (PTI)

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