More illustrious Australians added to exhibition match, now set for the Sydney Cricket Ground on February 8
Full playing squad locked in for Bushfire Bash
UPDATE, February 5: The Bushfire Bash will no longer go ahead as scheduled on Saturday at the SCG. FULL STORY HERE
Dan Christian, Holly Ferling and Australian Rules football great Nick Riewoldt have rounded out the squads for the Bushfire Cricket Bash at the SCG on Saturday, February 8.
The trio are the final names in a playing group that will be led by captains Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne, with West Indies legend Brian Lara also announced last night as a superstar addition to the match.
Lara, indisputably one of the greatest batsmen of all time, joins a raft of cricket and sporting champions who are coming together to raise funds for communities affected by Australia's bushfires.
The Trinidadian, as well as India's Yuvraj Singh and Pakistan great Wasim Akram add some serious international flavour to the playing rosters, while the legendary Australian players Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden and Michael Clarke have also signed up.
Last month, Indian great Sachin Tendulkar and West Indies legend Courtney Walsh were announced as non-playing coaches.
Skippers Ponting and Warne will finalise their respective XIs for the match in the coming days.
The fundraising game is one of three headline acts on cricket's day of giving on February 8, coined The Big Appeal, to be held after the Commonwealth Bank women's T20 international between Australia and India and before the KFC BBL Final.
The Big Appeal
Saturday February 8
Match 1: CommBank Women’s Tri-Series T20I, Australia v India @ Junction Oval
Match 2: Bushfire Cricket Bash, Ponting XI v Warne XI @ SCG
Match 3: KFC Big Bash League Final @ SCG
The Bushfire Cricket Bash will be a curtain-raiser to the BBL decider and will be played at the SCG after the Sixers beat the Stars last night to earn hosting rights for the BBL Final.
Australian men's team greats Andrew Symonds, Brad Haddin and Mike Hussey have also joined the cause along with current female stars Elyse Villani and Grace Harris as well as teenage batting sensation Phoebe Litchfield, who shot to prominence in this summer's Rebel WBBL with the Sydney Thunder.
"To have Brian Lara playing in this match is an unbelievable win for our fans,” said Anthony Everard, Cricket Australia Executive General Manager of Fan Engagement.
"It's also going to be a great experience for our playing squad, particularly the likes of Phoebe Litchfield who could find herself batting alongside Brian.
"Nick Riewoldt, Dan Christian and Holly Ferling complete the squad nicely, adding a bit of bowling depth to an extremely talented line-up.
"We can't wait to see Lara out on the SCG with the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Shane Warne, Grace Harris, Ricky Ponting, Michael Clarke, Adam Gilchrist, Brett Lee, Mike Hussey, Matthew Hayden and Ellyse Villani."
The exhibition match will be a 10-overs-per-side contest, with a five-over Powerplay, no bowling restrictions, and batters unable to get out from the first ball they face.
Bowlers will not have over limits, fielders can sub on and off as it suits, while captains will have the ability to sub batters in and out during an innings.
A number of legends from Australian sport's winter codes have also signed on for the match.
Rugby league great Brad 'Freddy' Fittler, a dual premiership-winning player and current New South Wales Blues State of Origin coach, is set to play along with Australian Rules footballer Luke Hodge, a four-time premiership-winning player with Hawthorn.
Steve Waugh and Mel Jones will also take part in a non-playing capacity, as will rugby league Immortal Andrew 'Joey' Johns, while Ponting and Warne will captain the two sides.
MORE INFO ON THE BIG APPEAL HERE
All match profits and funds raised on the day will go to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, with fans soon to be able to pledge donations per every wicket and boundary for a designated team across the three matches on the day.
Fans can get involved in the Big Appeal by buying tickets, watching the match on Channel Seven, Fox Cricket on Foxtel or Kayo, or by donating at cricket.com.au/BigAppeal.
Tickets are available from 11am AEDT today, with Ticketek waiving all transaction fees in support of the event.
Current playing squad for the Bushfire Cricket Bash: Shane Warne (c), Ricky Ponting (c), Adam Gilchrist, Alex Blackwell, Andrew Symonds, Brad Fittler, Brad Haddin, Brett Lee, Brian Lara, Dan Christian, Nick Riewoldt, Elyse Villani, Grace Harris, Holly Ferling, Justin Langer, Luke Hodge, Matthew Hayden, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Phoebe Litchfield, Shane Watson, Yuvraj Singh, Wasim Akram
Coaches: Sachin Tendulkar, Courtney Walsh
Non-playing capacity: Steve Waugh, Mel Jones, Andrew Johns