New Zealand in Australia 2008-09 February 10, 2009

Players to visit bushfire victims

Cricinfo staff


Australia's players will get a first-hand look at the bushfire devastation © AFP
 

The Australia one-day squad will take a detour on its way from Adelaide to Brisbane with the players set to visit bushfire victims in Victoria. Tuesday's match against New Zealand was turned into a telethon of sorts as the Commonwealth Bank bushfire appeal raised more than $6 million for those affected by the fires.

That included the Australian players handing over their own match fees and New Zealand's squad also contributed but after the game Ricky Ponting said his men wanted to do more. Squad members Peter Siddle and Cameron White are both from Gippsland and know of people affected by the fires and they will be part of the group that will spend time with victims in Whittlesea, about an hour north of Melbourne.

"There are a few guys in our side that are reasonably affected by it at the moment so for them at the moment it's incredibly difficult obviously," Ponting said after the match. "We've actually decided as a group we're going to fly down to Melbourne tomorrow and get on a team coach and go out to Whittlesea and spend a few hours there to try and make things a fraction easier if we can.

"We want to get in and help out wherever we can. It was actually an idea sparked by Michael Clarke this morning - he rang me early this morning - and we and people from Cricket Australia have been working on this whole idea all day to get it functional, so we'll go and lend our support tomorrow wherever we can and pay our respects."

During Tuesday's match Siddle, who was the 12th man, wandered through the Adelaide Oval crowd collecting money for the appeal. The Australians will also auction off their match shirts from Friday's game in Brisbane and the proceeds will go towards the bushfire cause.