The mutual respect that Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne share between each other is a well-documented fact. But according to the Australian bowling legend, their relationship took a hit in 2015-16, when a conflict of interest arised during the organization of exhibition matches in the United States.
In his recently-released book 'No Spin', Warne has also pointed out how former Indian cricketer Mohammed Kaif demanded preferential treatment. And now, it is believed that the concept that Tendulkar and the Australian decided to make into an annual affair, went down the drain with their difference of opinion in its management.
However, Sachin Tendulkar refused to comment on the issue when reached by PTI for a statement. The Legends Exhibition matches were held in New York, Houston and Los Angeles, with some of the cricketing greats like Brian Lara, Glen McGrath and Sourav Ganguly being a part of the mega event.
While in his book, Warne made it clear that Tendulkar took care of all the expenses related to the event, but the Aussie was least pleased with the people the Indian batting maestro hired to manage the event.
"Sachin had this guy there, Sanjay, who was very much a mentor and business advisor. I explained my concept and gave them a slide show. They loved it and flew in a guy called Ben Sturner from America. Sachin was adamant that his team of people run the whole thing," Warne wrote in his book.
Ben Sturner is the CEO of a sports entertainment management and entertainment company, but the identity of Sanjay was unknown. He goes on to write: "I said, 'Well it's my idea. I know I can get the best players and I am prepared to go 50-50 with you. I suggest we pay experienced people to organise it and appoint two from each of our camps'."
Sachin said, "No I have to have Sanjay and Ben."
"I was uneasy with that but remained sure Sachin and I together would make it work, so I agreed. At the next meeting, he brought a couple of other guys along who seemed efficient and on the ball."
"I figured, okay, I have known Sachin for 25 years and he's done unbelievably well off the field, so he must have the business side of his life well organised. Relax and go with them," Warne recollected.
However, Shane Warne said that he ended up regretting the decision. In one of his references to their slack in their management, Warne pointed out how the games were played on a baseball field.
"The organisation was not as it could, or should, have been, which was a real shame. They were decent guys but the event got too big for them. The truth is, if you ask me, that they didn't do the pitch/ground deal quite right and fell foul of that old line of the devil being in the detail of the contract. This, along with other small and important aspect of a top-level event was all very last minute and not slick as I had wanted."
The Australian spin great spoke about things was looked after at the last moment, which according to him was the 'Indian way'.
"I think it's because Indians leave everything so late, which they can make work at home, but it's not easy to pull off in someone else's country. Each day felt like they were flying by the seat of their pants and I didn't like that at all."
"Sachin got onto a guy called Raj, who, strangely, I knew a bit from poker and he came in at the very last moment, saving the day with his organizational skills and, most importantly, paying a heap of outstanding bills that helped us to go ahead," Warne wrote.
Warne further wrote that Tendulkar took offense when the Australian legend gave him his opinion on his team.
When we eventually met for a debrief, the first thing I said to Sachin was that size of the events overwhelmed a couple of his guys, Sanjay in particular and that we'd be better employing others for event management.
He took offence at that, which was fair enough. "I suggested, we find an independent agent while at the same time offering my own manager, James Erskine, as an option to broker it all, because he'd previous success staging events in the entertainment industry." "At the very least I said, let's go with the two and two idea I had at the beginning. "Sachin said, 'No, it has to be my people'."
Warne then recalled how things got from bad to worse between the duo, due to a communication breakdown, which he blamed on "jealous people" around Tendulkar.
"I rang him immediately but got nothing. In fact for a couple of months, he wouldn't take my calls. I later found out he was under the impression that I was trying to do it without him but my instinct was to give him benefit of doubt on that one - there were a lot of jealous people out there, happy to turn us against each other, I thought."
"One of the players told me he was actually signing with Sachin, which caught me off guard. I said, "that's cool, he has the right to do exactly as he wants as do you. But it can't be under the All-Stars banner - that's mine," Warne asserted.