Following an overwhelming response to Cricket Australia’s (CA) activities to recognise firefighters, volunteers and emergency service officers at the Sydney Test, CA has announced continued efforts to raise funds and provide a helping hand to recovery efforts over the longer term.
Volunteering 4000+ days
Australian Cricket CEOs including CA, State and Territory Cricket Associations and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) have come together to fund all employees to volunteer for up to three days to support recovery efforts in bushfire impacted areas.
Cricket Australia Chief Executive Officer, Kevin Roberts, said: “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.
“Our people, right across the Australian Cricket family including all States and Territories and the ACA, can together, through this initiative provide more than 4000 days of volunteering to assist wherever they are needed.”
Bushfire Cricket Bash
Cricket Australia will also stage a bushfire relief cricket match skippered by former Australian Captain, Ricky Ponting and Australia’s most prolific wicket taker, Shane Warne.
Saturday 8 February has been earmarked as cricket’s day of giving to relief efforts and recognising the ongoing and incredible work of volunteers, career firefighters and emergency services. Three matches will be played on this day kicking off with the Commonwealth Bank Women’s Tri-Series T20I clash between Australia and India, followed by the Bushfire Cricket Bash, which will lead into the KFC Big Bash League Final.
To date, former Australian cricketers confirmed to play include Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, 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.
All match profits and funds raised on the day will go to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.
Roberts said: “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.
“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.”
Further details about the Bushfire Cricket Bash will be revealed over the coming days.
Community Bushfire Recovery Fund
Roberts said: “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.
“Australian cricket also recognises the significant impact the fires have had to date on community sporting facilities across the country.
“Community cricket clubs are known for providing a place of connection within communities and we want to help those clubs that have been impacted to rebuild quickly,” he added.
Cricket Australia will establish a Community Bushfire Recovery Fund to support the many cricket clubs and cricket communities affected to get back on their feet with an injection of $2 million from CA to open the fund. More information will be shared in due course.
Recognition and thanks
Cricket Australia has announced it will dedicate the Gillette One-Day International Series against New Zealand in March to all of the volunteers and emergency services workers, people who have lost loved ones, property or livelihoods to the bushfires across the country, and community cricket club members impacted by the unfolding disaster. The organisation will take the opportunity to thank these communities for all they have done and suffered through with on-field acknowledgements.
Australian Cricket has been actively involved in raising money for those affected by the fires through various activities including fundraising at the Rebel Women’s Big Bash League finals; an online player shirt auction from the Domain Boxing Day Test; Australian bowlers Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc, James Pattinson and Nathan Lyon donating $1000 for every wicket taken throughout the Domain Pink Test; various initiatives from KFC Big Bash League clubs and players as well as players visiting fire ravaged communities.
Roberts said: “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. 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.”