Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who will be coaching Ponting XI in Bushfire Cricket Bash, has urged fans to donate generously to support Australians affected by a “catastrophic” summer.
Since September 2019, Australia has battled a bushfire crisis which has claimed at least 33 human lives and that of millions of animals.
Tendulkar also revealed former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee was the conduit for his involvement in Sunday’s charity game scheduled to be played at the Junction Oval in Melbourne.
“I received a message from Brett Lee,” Tendulkar was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. “Brett said that Kevin (Roberts, Cricket Australia’s chief executive) would like to be in touch with you.
“It was a no-brainer. From the moment I was asked, I said, ‘yes I’m more than happy to come here'”, he added.
Tendulkar, one of the greatest batters in cricket history and arguably the most famous figure the game has produced, also said he had been moved by the devastation caused to both people and wildlife by the bushfires in recent months.
“This is an alarming situation, it’s catastrophic — that’s an understatement,” said Tendulkar. “You see the number of lives it has affected, not only humans but also wildlife which sometimes people don’t talk about. That is equally important.
“I’m so happy I’m here in whatever way to support the cause, to raise money,” he added.
Yuvraj Singh, who played 40 Tests and 304 ODIs in an international career that spanned 17 years, will be part of the Gilchrist XI. The flambouyant all-rounder, who famously hit Stuart Broad for six consecutive sixes in 2007 World T20, was asked if he hoped to replicate those feats on Sunday.
“I don’t know if I’ll be able to hit one at the moment,” Singh laughed.
“I don’t know how I’m going to play the fast bowlers…I hope (Lee) is not bowling 150kph at this moment… If he’s bowling 150kph, I think I’ll be at the non-striker’s end,” he added.
Ponting XI: Matthew Hayden, Justin Langer, Ricky Ponting (c), Elyse Villani, Brian Lara, Phoebe Litchfield, Brad Haddin (wk), Brett Lee, Wasim Akram, Dan Christian, Luke Hodge. Coach: Sachin Tendulkar
Gilchrist XI: Adam Gilchrist (c & wk), Shane Watson, Brad Hodge, Yuvraj Singh, Alex Blackwell, Andrew Symonds, Courtney Walsh, Nick Riewoldt, Peter Siddle, Fawad Ahmed (one more to be announced). Coach: Tim Paine