Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne, along with other legends will be part of the Bushfire Cricket Bash match on February 8. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Cricket Australia had a blockbuster annoucement for cricketing fans on Sunday. Legends like Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne and Adam Gilchrist along with other Australian superstars are all set to come out of retirement and play a match. The reason- a charity match for the victims of the Australian bushfires that have ravaged the country for the last couple of months. According to a report in Cricket Australia, there will be a Bushfire Cricket Bash on February 8 and Warne as well as Ponting will captain the two sides.
Apart from Warne and Ponting, Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Justin Langer, Michael Clarke, Shane Watson and Alex Blackwell will also take part. The Bushfire Cricket Bash match will form part of a blocbuster Saturday event in which the Australia women's cricket team, the reigning world champions, will take on India in a Twenty20 clash at the Junction Oval while on the same day, there will be the Big Bash League final. The venues for the Big Bash League final and the Bushfire Cricket Bash are yet to be confirmed.
The Bushfire Cricket Bash will be played in the afternoon and act as a curtain raiser for the BBL Final. Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts said more initiatives are being planned in the near future. "People the world over have seen the overwhelming images of hundreds of thousands of hectares burnt, precious lives lost, hundreds of properties destroyed and the devastating loss of wildlife as a result of the fires. These images have reinforced the need to get behind organisations like the Australian Red Cross which is responding to the immediate requirements of people who have lost loved ones, their homes, and their livelihoods," Roberts said.
Massive Contributions From The World
Warne had decided to auction his Baggy Green cap in order to raise funds and it raised a staggering Australian Dollar One Million. After the auction, there was some confusion following the auction. According to a report in Cricket Australia, social media had lit up with speculation the anonymous buyer listed on the auction house website as 'MC of Sydney' was former cricket captain Michael Clarke, a close friend of Warne. However, it was revealed to be The Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn, Australia's biggest lender, was revealed as the winning bidder.
Brett Lee, Justin Langer, Michael Clarke, Shane Watson are the other stars who have confirmed their participation. (Image credit: Getty Images)
Comyn said the cap would go on a tour of the country to raise more money before being donated to the Bradman Museum in Bowral, southwest of Sydney, where it will remain on permanent exhibit. "I want to thank and commend Shane for giving up one of his most cherished possessions for such an important cause. He has demonstrated the same Aussie spirit we are seeing across the country with acts of generosity and dedication throughout this disaster," Comyn said.
Sports stars from around the world have stumped up memorabilia and cash to help pay for relief efforts in Australia's unprecedented bushfire emergency. Reigning Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton pledged USD 500,000 on Thursday, saying that he had been deeply saddened by reports that over a billion animals had been killed in the fires. Warne's fellow cricketers Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell and D'Arcy Short have also pledged to donate Australian Dollar 250 for every six they smash during the ongoing Big Bash League Twenty20 tournament.
Top tennis players have also got involved, with Serena Williams auctioning off a dress she wore on the court at this week's WTA Auckland Classic. Cricket Australia injected AUD 2 million into a fund to assist community cricket clubs impacted by the fires, and confirmed the Gillette ODI Series between Australia and New Zealand in March will be dedicated to volunteers and emergency services workers. The Australia bushfires have ravaged the country and it has left a massive trail of devastation behind, with close to 30 deaths.