MCC v International XI, Lord's June 14, 2005

Hoaxers force cancellation of tsunami match prize


Hoaxers have forced MCC to call off a special fund-raising prize event involving Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne that was due to take place in the interval of today's tsunami appeal match at Lord's.

The highest bidder in an on-line auction was due to receive 15 minutes of one-to-one coaching from Tendulkar before walking out to the middle at Lord's to face an over from Warne, the world's leading Test wicket-taker, during the break between innings of the match between MCC and an International XI.

However, in a statement, MCC said the auction, which was arranged in conjunction with internet site eBay, had seen its highest bids come from hoaxers. As the auction closed on Saturday, MCC said there was insufficient time to arrange a replacement with the highest legitimate bidder.

Assaf Admoni, the director of fundraising at the Leonard Cheshire Foundation, said: "I'm appalled that people could do this. They've wrecked an event that would have raised much-needed funds for a range of very important tsunami recovery and relief projects."

"It's disgraceful that people could behave in this way," Roger Knight, MCC's secretary, said. "We were delighted when Warne and Tendulkar agreed to stage this unique event. I'm very sorry that, because of the hoaxers, their goodwill has been wasted and a tremendous fundraising opportunity lost."