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Warne, Ponting to temporarily come out of retirement

Last updated on: January 13, 2020 17:07 IST

Warne, Ponting, Langer to play Twenty20 bushfire match; Serena donates Auckland winnings to help raise money

Fox Sports commentator Sarah Jones and Shane Warne, with his baggy green cap which was sold for more than $1 million, with all funds going to the bushfire appeal, ahead of the Big Bash League match between the Melbourne Renegades and the Melbourne Stars at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on Friday

IMAGE: Fox Sports commentator Sarah Jones and Shane Warne, with his baggy green cap which was sold for more than $1 million, with all funds going to the bushfire appeal, ahead of the Big Bash League match between the Melbourne Renegades and the Melbourne Stars at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on Friday. Photograph: Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Former Australian cricketing greats Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne will temporarily come out of retirement to play in a charity Twenty20 match next month as sports organisations and athletes seek ways to raise funds for bushfire relief.

Since October, thousands of Australians have faced repeat evacuations as huge and unpredictable fires scorched more than 10.3 million hectares (25.5 million acres), an area roughly the size of South Korea.

 

Current national coach Justin Langer will also play in the game on February 8 along with former captain Michael Clarke and vice-captain Adam Gilchrist, Cricket Australia (CA) said in a statement on Sunday.

"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," CA Chief Executive Kevin Roberts said.

The match will be played on the same day as a women's Twenty20 international between Australia and India in Melbourne and the men's domestic Twenty20 Big Bash final.

The charity game would act as a curtain raiser for the Big Bash match, with the venue not confirmed until the two teams for the final are determined.

Also on Sunday, former world tennis number one Serena Williams said after she won her first title in nearly three years at the Auckland Classic that she would donate her prize money from the tournament.

She also donated her match-worn dresses to be auctioned to help raise money.

Williams won $42,000 for clinching the singles title over American compatriot Jessica Pegula and was set to add to that tally after the doubles final with good friend Caroline Wozniacki.

"I've been playing in Australia for more than 20 years and it has been hard for me to be watching the news with all the fires," Williams said at the on-court presentation.

"So much has happened that I decided I'd donate all my dresses from my matches and all my prize money for a great cause. So thank you guys."

She was one of many domestic and international athletes, from cricketers and tennis players to Australian NBA players, to have pledged to support the fundraising for bushfire victims.

Warne raised more than A$1 million ($690,000) on Friday when he auctioned off his prized "baggy green" cap for bushfire relief efforts.

Brighton and Hove Albion goalkeeper Mat Ryan has raised A$28,000 ($19,365) for an Australian bushfire animal rescue charity after a novel shot-stopping fundraiser in England's Premier League.

The Australia international said last week he would donate A$500 for every save made by a goalkeeper during the latest round of matches. A total of 56 saves were made across 10 games, with Ryan pulling off five in Brighton's 1-0 defeat by Everton.

"Thank you to all for your amazing support in regards to the situation back home," Ryan, who will send his funds to the WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue emergency fund, posted on Twitter https://twitter.com/MatyRyan/status/1216289745602514944

"Grateful to you all for sharing, supporting, raising awareness and most importantly donating to the cause."

A group of nine Australian players from the National Basketball Association have committed $750,000 towards the relief and recovery efforts.

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