Australia bushfires: Warne, Ponting to captain one-off fundraising match
With Australia facing a severe crisis in the form of bushfires plaguing the nation, a one-off fundraiser cricket match is set to be played on February 8. Former Aussie legends Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting will captain the star-studded teams. Cricket Australia confirmed that an all-star T20 match will be played as a curtain-raiser to the Big Bash League (BBL) final.
The match will be held in order to raise money for the victims of the devastating bushfires the country has been witnessing for a while now. The one-off match will be played either in Melbourne or Sydney. Earlier, Warne himself raised over 1 million Australian dollars for bushfire relief after putting his baggy green up for auction.
CA tweeted on Sunday that Ponting and Warne will captain star-studded teams in a Bushfire Relief Match to be played on February 8. Meanwhile, the tweet added, "Cricket's day of giving will celebrate volunteers, career fire-fighters and emergency services, and raise funds for Red Cross."
Several former Australian cricketers will join Warne and Ponting. Adam Gilchrist, Justin Langer, Brett Lee, Shane Watson, Alex Blackwell and Michael Clarke will be taking part in the Bushfire Relief Match. Steve Waugh will also be involved in the game in a non-playing capacity. "It is going to be a huge and special day. It's nice to be part of it," Ponting said.
Since putting his baggy green up for auction, the final price the cap attracted was AUD 1,007,500, by an 'MC' from Sydney. It went past the previous final bid for Don Bradman's cap, which had fetched AUD 425,000 in January 2003. "I hope my Baggy Green can raise some significant funds to help all those people who are in desperate need," said Warne.
Cricket Australia has organized a number of appeal funds for the ongoing bushfires. Meanwhile, in the ongoing BBL, several players pledged to donate money for every six hit and wickets taken. Along with signed shirts being auctioned, the ODIs between Australia and New Zealand in March would also be used for the relief fund. Also, many Aussie tennis stars are also donating money.
Australia saw dozens of fires erupting in New South Wales in November and things rapidly spread across the entire continent to become some of the most devastating on record. An area, roughly 15 million acres, has burned already. More than 1,000 houses have been destroyed by the fire. People were forced to evacuate their houses, with 28 deaths occurring. It is a countrywide catastrophe.