The star-studded charity match to raise funds for Australian bushfire victims, which will see Sachin Tendulkar coach one of the teams, has been shifted from the SCG because of the forecast of torrential rain and will now be played in Melbourne on Sunday.
The match, named ‘Bushfire Cricket Bash’, was earlier scheduled at the SCG on Saturday but will now be held at Melbourne’s Junction Oval on Sunday.
Indian batting legend Tendulkar will coach the Ricky Ponting XI while Australian test skipper Tim Paine will manage the other team to be captained by former Australia wicketkeeper-batsman Adam Gilchrist. Windies great Courtney Walsh was set to coach Warne’s XI but has stepped up to put on the spikes again.
Just like riding a bike. A very slow bike. pic.twitter.com/Ba6dnHIBzO
— Ricky Ponting AO (@RickyPonting) February 6, 2020
Australian spin great Shane Warne was to lead the side but as a result of the change of date, he will not be available for the match due to prior commitments, and Gilchrist will take over as captain, according to cricket.com.au.
The game was scheduled as a curtain-raiser to the Twenty20 Big Bash League final, but with downpours expected Cricket Australia (CA) said it would no longer be possible.
“Change of plans! To ensure the SCG is in the best possible condition for the BBL final, we’ve made the call to not go ahead with Saturday’s Bushfire Cricket Bash at the SCG,” CA tweeted.
All profits and funds from the match would go to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, which will help victims of the blazes which began in September and have left at least 33 people dead and thousands of homes destroyed.
With a number of the Bushfire Bash players also holding commentary positions with Fox Cricket and the Seven Network, it was not possible to move the match to Melbourne and keep it on a Saturday afternoon.
Sixers and Australia star Steve Smith backed the decision to reschedule the Bushfire Bash. “I think it’s a wise move to postpone or move the bushfire relief game, we don’t need people playing on the wicket before the Big Bash final,” Smith said.
“If it’s going to be raining and things like that, it’ll make things really difficult. That’s a wise move. I think we’ve earned the right to host the final, the way we’ve played, and we’re hopeful this rain stays away and we can get a game in.”
The match will be a 10-over-per-side contest, with a five-over Powerplay, no bowling restrictions, and batters unable to get out from the first ball they face. Bowlers will not have over limits, fielders can sub on and off as it suits, while captains will have the ability to sub batters in and out during an innings.
Other cricket greats to play in the match include Brian Lara, Yuvraj Singh, Wasim Akram, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Shane Watson, Andrew Symonds, Brad Haddin and Brett Lee.
The reschedule means former Australia captain Michael Clarke and batsman Michael Hussey, as well as a number of the female stars, will not be able to play due to prior commitments.
Former Australian women’s team player Mel Jones and rugby league great Andrew Johns will join in activities in a non-playing capacity.
Current playing squad for the Bushfire Cricket Bash: Ricky Ponting (c), Adam Gilchrist (c), Brian Lara, Yuvraj Singh, Wasim Akram, Courtney Walsh, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Shane Watson, Andrew Symonds, Brad Haddin, Brett Lee, Alex Blackwell, Dan Christian, Nick Riewoldt, Elyse Villani, Luke Hodge, Cam Smith.