Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting will captain teams in a bushfire relief match to be staged on February 8 before the Big Bash final as part of Cricket Australia’s fundraising efforts amid the devastating bushfires across the country.
Other former players confirmed for the match, called the Bushfire Cricket Bash, include Justin Langer, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Shane Watson, Alex Blackwell and Michael Clarke. Steve Waugh and Mel Jones will be involved in a non-playing capacity.
The game will take place on the same day as the Australia-India women’s T20 tri-series fixture in Melbourne and the BBL final. The bushfire relief match will be staged ahead of the final with the venue to be determined on January 31 when the hosts are confirmed in the Qualifier knockout match.
All match profits and funds raised on the day will go to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.
“I’m delighted to confirm the Bushfire Cricket Bash will be Cricket Australia’s major fundraising initiative to support Australians impacted by the recent unprecedented bushfire emergency,” Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts said.
“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.”
The confirmation of the charity match is the latest part of cricket’s role in the fundraising efforts which have included the Australia Test attack donating A$1000 for every wicket they took in the SCG Test, signed shirts from both the Test side and BBL teams and BBL players donating money for sixes hit and wickets taken.
Warne has also played a significant role by donating his baggy green which was auctioned for more than one million dollars last week with Commonwealth Bank being revealed as the winning bidder. They will take the cap on a fundraising tour around the country before donating it to the Bradman Museum in Bowral.
“I’m very proud of the response not only from the Australian Cricket family but from the broader sporting industry and the community at large,” Roberts said. “It’s just so humbling to see the collaboration and determination to do whatever is needed to help our fellow Australians in their time of need.”