Shane Warne's baggy green, which he put up for auction to raise funds for bushfire relief, has been bought by the Commonwealth Bank for over one million dollars.
With minutes to go in the auction, the figure crossed into the million mark with the website listing an 'MC' from Sydney making the final bid of AUD1,007,500. It later emerged that MC stood for CBA chief executive Matt Comyn who said that the bank - who are one of Cricket Australia's major partners - would take the baggy green on a tour around Australia to raise further money before putting it on display at the Bradman Museum in Bowral.
"I am delighted that CBA has been able to secure Shane's cherished baggy green cap," Comyn said. "This has not only raised another $1 million for bushfire relief, it will also enable us to raise further funds for the bushfire appeal as the cap commences a fundraising tour across the country before retiring as a permanent exhibit at the Bradman Museum in Bowral to be enjoyed by all Australians and cricket fans.
"I want to thank and commend Shane for giving up one of his most cherished possessions for such an important cause. He has demonstrated the same Aussie spirit we are seeing across the country with acts of generosity and dedication throughout this disaster as communities rally to support each other."
Moments after bidding closed, Warne tweeted: "Thank you so much to everyone that placed a bid & a huge Thank you / congrats to the successful bidder - you have blown me away with your generosity and this was way beyond my expectations! The money will go direct to the Red Cross bushfire appeal."
Thankyou so much to everyone that placed a bid & a huge Thankyou / congrats to the successful bidder - you have blown me away with your generosity and this was way beyond my expectations ! The money will go direct to the Red Cross bushfire appeal. Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou pic.twitter.com/vyVcA7NfGs— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) January 9, 2020
The auction was being held to raise funds for the bushfire appeal, with the disaster hitting large parts of Australia. In addition to Warne, another legendary former bowler has also put his baggy green up for auction in Jeff Thomson.
The price for Warne's cap is the highest ever bid for a baggy green, beating the AUD 425,000 that was bid for Don Bradman's cap in January 2003.
"The impact these devastating fires are having on so many people is unthinkable and has touched us all," Warne said. "I hope my Baggy Green can raise some significant funds to help all those people who are in desperate need."
Warne, 50, is Australia's most successful Test bowler with 708 wickets, and is commonly regarded as the game's greatest ever legspinner.
Thomson, 69, played 51 Tests for Australia from 1973 to 1985, taking 200 wickets, and was widely held to be the fastest bowler in the world. He will be auctioning his last remaining baggy green and his cricket vest. All funds raised through the auction of Thomson's items will be donated to charities and fire services.
"I don't have much of my memorabilia left, so these two items are quite rare and special," Thomson said. "It's hard to say what these pieces may go for, but I just hope that they can raise some decent funds that will really make a difference for all of those in need right now."
There are also discussions taking place about the possibility of staging a bushfire relief match which could feature former stars including Warne.
Cricket has launched a number of fund-raising initiatives for the bushfire appeal including players in the BBL donating money for sixes hit and wickets taken, signed shirts being auctioned off while the ODIs between Australia and New Zealand in March will be used for the appeal.