ICC announces two-match fund-raising series
The world's top cricketers will participate in a two-match one-day series to be played in Australia and Asia to raise funds to support the victims of the tsunami disaster that has devastated thousands of lives in a multitude of countries across the Indian Ocean.
The matches will be played between an ICC XI and an Asian XI, with the first game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on January 10. The second one-dayer will be played some time in February or March, at a venue which will be decided later by the Asian Cricket Council, the ICC announced today.
The ICC XI, to be picked by Sir Richard Hadlee, the former New Zealand allrounder, and Steve Waugh, the recent Australian captain, will be announced on Sunday, and is expected to include players from Australia, New Zealand and West Indies. The Asian XI, consisting of players from India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, will be announced on Monday.
Channel 9, the Australian broadcaster, has already committed to televising the first match live in Australia while negotiations are on with international broadcasters for the rights for the first match in the overseas market.
Ehsan Mani, the ICC president, said that the enormous goodwill across the cricket-playing world had made the matches possible at such short notice. "Like the rest of the world, the international cricket community is shocked at the scale of the devastation caused by this disaster."
Jagmohan Dalmiya, the president of the Asian Cricket Council, believed that these matches would be able to generate millions of dollars to be used to help rebuild people's lives. The games are in addition to several other fundraising initiatives already undertaken by the cricket community around the world. These include £120,000 (approx US$230,000) donated by the Indian board, Aus$34,000 (US$26,500) donated jointly by the Australian Test team and Cricket Australia, and £20,000 (US$38,300) from the England team and its players' association. The Indian team will also donate their payments from a forthcoming one-day intenational to the Indian Prime Minister's Relief Fund, while the Bangladesh Cricket Board has pledged the gate receipts from its upcoming series against Zimbabwe, estimated at $10,000, to relief efforts.