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January 13, 2011
For some of Australia's cricketers the flood crisis in Queensland has hit especially close to home. Shane Watson, who struck 59 and took 4 for 15 in the first Twenty20, is from Ipswich, west of Brisbane, which is one of the worst affected areas by the devastation and he struggled to focus on his cricket as he watched TV coverage of the rising water.
Watson's mother and father are currently in Sydney so have escaped the danger while his sister is on high ground but is very close to the major flooding. Despite his mind being elsewhere, Watson produced a fine all-round performance in Adelaide which just failed to secure victory although the one-wicket loss wasn't dominating his thoughts.
"Over the past couple of days for me personally it has put things into perspective of exactly what cricket means and what life means with all the devastation in my home town Ipswich," he said. "I love playing and I have a lot of fun doing it but in the end what we do is inconsequential compared to the heartache and the devastation that is going through my home town at the moment.
"My mum and dad are actually in Sydney at the moment, but their house is okay. It's more seeing the footage of the main street of Ipswich. The river is a fair way away from the main street where Coles [the supermarket] is underwater and that sort of thing.
"It's going to take a long, long time for people to pick up the pieces. I'll be doing everything I can to get back there as soon as I can to help out because my heart is there, my family is there. Ipswich has been very, very good to me in my development as a person, and as a cricketer, so I owe a lot to them."
Both Australia and England are heavily involved in fundraising activities for the flood victims during the Twenty20 and one-day series. England have donated to a fund and players from both sides went around the ground collecting donations in Adelaide.
Kevin Pietersen decided to take his own action by setting up an auction of one of his Ashes bats and shirts, plus tickets to the final ODI in Perth where Pietersen will pay the flights for whoever bids the highest. By Thursday afternoon the bid on Ebay had reached more than AUS$12,000 (£8,000) and Pietersen said it was when he saw the TV pictures that he knew he wanted to help.
"I woke up a couple of mornings ago and saw how tragic everything is in Queensland," he said. "I've just been downstairs now and seen on the TV a restaurant that I've eaten three or four times at during the Test match - that's under water at the moment.
"I'm hoping to get double figures [in thousands] of pounds to assist with this. Hopefully the bidding will go up. I think it is around £8,500 pounds, if I can get that a lot higher in the next 10 days that would be amazing. I've never done this before. All I can say is I've tried my best to help the situation which I thought was really, really tragic."
England are due to play a one-day international at the Gabba on January 30 - which has been designated a fundraiser - and Queensland officials are still confident the game will go ahead while the state Government has urged the match to remain. However, the Big Bash encounter that was due to be played in Brisbane on Saturday, between Queensland and New South Wales, has been delayed until January 24.
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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