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Australia greats return to field for bushfire relief

by Wisden Staff 2 minute read

Australia legends Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting will lead star studded teams in a charity game in a bid to raise funds for the bushfire victims across the country.

Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Justin Langer, Michael Clarke, Shane Watson and Alex Blackwell have confirmed their participation in the match, while former captain Steve Waugh and former women’s team medium-pacer Mel Jones will be available in non-playing capacity. More prominent names are expected to join in due course.

The T20 affair will be contested on February 8, alongside the Women’s tri-series fixture between India and Australia at Melbourne’s Junction Oval and the final of the ongoing Big Bash League. The venue will be announced on January 31, after the result of first BBL Qualifier determines the host of the final.

Each of the three games will contribute to the cause and the money raised shall be donated to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. Cricket Australia on Sunday, January 12, added 2,000,000 AUD into a fund to assist community cricket clubs impacted by the fires, while confirming that the ODI Series between Australia and New Zealand in March will be dedicated to volunteers and emergency services workers.

“The Bushfire Cricket Bash will be Cricket Australia’s major fundraising initiative to support Australians impacted by the recent unprecedented bushfire emergency,” CA’s CEO Kevin Roberts said in a statement. “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.

“While the financial support of rebuilding is, without doubt, one of the best ways to contribute, we know the recovery efforts will take months beyond the fires being managed and we want to do what we can to support these communities.”

A lot of former and current players have already extended their full support for the cause. While Test skipper Tim Paine and off-spinner Nathan Lyon visited firefighters in the NSW Southern Highlands last week, Warne decided to auction his baggy green Test cap, which successfully raised AUD 1,007,500.

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