Australian and English cricketers will put their fierce rivalry aside on Wednesday to raise funds for the victims of the devastating floods in Queensland.
The biggest floods in a century have killed 14 people since starting in the northern state last month and on Wednesday water had started to
inundate Brisbane, where the Ashes series began in late November.
Among other fund-raising initiatives, England and Australia players will solicit donations from the crowd at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday night during the first of a series of limited over matches that follow the Test series.
“It is important that we do something, those people need as much help as possible. It’s a terrible time and each day it seems to get worse and worse,” said England’s Graeme Swann.
Batsman Kevin Pietersen had already announced on social media site Twitter that he would auction off one of the shirts he wore in England’s Ashes triumph, a bat and two tickets to a one-day international to raise funds.
Australian rules football governing body, the AFL, and 18 teams have pledged $500,000 to the relief fund, while the Brisbane Broncos rugby league donated $25,000 and helped raise more through their players at a nationally televised telethon.
Australia soccer international Tim Cahill gestured as if making a phone call after scoring the second of his two goals in Australia’s 4-0 Asian Cup victory over India on Monday to advertise a prize he was offering for the telethon.
“I showed the gesture because I want people to call in on the telethon, donate money and bid on my auction,” he said in Doha.
“This is football but there’s a lot more that’s going on in the world, and to help people and families that are struggling is my way of showing that I care.”
Bidding for the prize of two flights from anywhere in the world to watch a match at Cahill’s English club Everton with dinner and signed boots and shirt has raised more than $10,000.
American tennis player Andy Roddick pledged $100 for every ace he served at the Brisbane International last week, doubling the tally to $10,800 after losing the final to Robin Soderling.
Local grand slam hopeful Sam Stosur offered the same and the ATP and WTA professional tours expect to donate $40,000 with their pledge of $100 for every ace over three tournaments, including next week’s Australian Open.
The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) pitched in with a donation of $50,000, while players from the Queensland Reds Super rugby team have also made their own personal contributions.
“I congratulate Wallabies and Queensland Reds players Anthony and Saia Faingaa, who have announced they will donate their first Super Rugby game match payments to the flood relief appeal,” said ARU chief John O’Neill.
Staff were evacuated on Tuesday from Brisbane’s Gabba cricket ground, while the city’s Suncorp football Stadium is already under water, local media reported.