The Guardian:- Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne are hoping to persuade Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara and MS Dhoni to join their star-studded teams in next month’s bushfire relief match.
The two Australian greats will come out of retirement to captain the sides in Cricket Australia’s Bushfire Cricket Bash, which will be played as a curtain-raiser to the Big Bash League final on February 8.
The matches will form part of a triple-header of cricket on the same day, with Australia to host India in a women’s Twenty20 international in Melbourne.
Australia coach Justin Langer and fellow former national team stars Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Shane Watson, Alex Blackwell and Michael Clarke are already confirmed starters for the Bushfire Cricket Bash.
Steve Waugh and former Australian women’s ace Mel Jones will have non-playing roles in the game.
“Hopefully a few (more) big names will get involved as well,” Warne said on Sunday. “From all sorts, whether it be music, film, TV or sports from different codes. We’re trying to put together an eclectic group, a diverse group that people will identify with.”
Ponting is hoping his former teammate’s extensive contact list of big-names will come in useful, joking Warne has “most of them on speed-dial”. International cricket legends Lara, Tendulkar and Dhoni are on the wishlist.
“We can only try,” Ponting said. “We can only reach out to them and see if they want to help out. It’s been a pretty tragic time in Australia. All those guys who have been out here and travelled with different countries have had great times in Australia, whether it’s playing here or getting out and about. It sometimes can be amazing what people will do to try and help others out in difficult times.”
The venue will only be decided when the host of the BBL final is confirmed, but the MCG and SCG are frontrunners given the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Sixers sit in the top two spots after eight games.
It’s been 15 years since Ponting and Warne played in the 2005 Boxing Day tsunami charity match at the MCG, where a World XI took on an Asian XI. “I’m actually quite excited if it is here because one more game at the MCG would be nice,” Ponting said. “If we could replicate something like that (tsunami match) for this game, that would be amazing.”
All profits and funds raised during all three games on the day will go towards the Australian Red Cross disaster relief and recovery fund. CA employees, including state and territory associations, have been funded by chief executives to be able to volunteer up to three days supporting recovery efforts in bushfire-affected areas.
“We’ve already seen the cricket community respond en masse to raise funds for communities impacted by the fires at a national, state and community level,” CA chief executive Kevin Roberts said. “Australian cricket recognises the significant impact the fires have had to date on community sporting facilities across the country.”