Australia and New Zealand’s cricketers will wear black armbands in tribute to those affected by widespread bushfires in Australia when the teams meet in Friday’s third Test in Sydney.
At least 18 people have died in blazes across the country.
There will also be a minute’s applause to honour the country’s firefighters.
“We pray conditions to improve, the fires ease and the rains come,” said Australia coach Justin Langer and captain Tim Paine in a joint letter.
“And, above all else, we hope all Australians pull together and help each other through this incredibly difficult time.”
The pair also said the firefighters were the “true heroes of every summer”.
Cricket Australia also announced there will be a fund-raising drive for the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund during one-day matches between Australia and New Zealand in Sydney in March, while the team’s shirts from the Boxing Day Test win over the Black Caps are being auctioned off.
Australia head into the final match of the three-Test series with an unassailable 2-0 lead.
The match may be hampered by the smoke from fires that have spread to the outskirts of Sydney and umpires have the option to suspend play if smoke affects air quality or visibility.
“Like rain, the rules are in place to add time, to suspend play. But what we’re finding is smoke comes in quick but also goes quick,” Cricket Australia’s head of operations Peter Roach said.
“We might see some challenges across that day, but we’ll play it like rain or adverse weather. Time can be added on.”
A Big Bash match was abandoned in Canberra in December because of poor air quality, while players at golf’s Australian Open in Sydney complained of stinging eyes and trouble breathing.
Nick Kyrgios, Australia’s number two tennis player, suggested on social media on Wednesday that Tennis Australia should use the presence of the world’s best players in the country in the build-up to the Australian Open to raise funds.
The governing body’s chief executive Craig Tiley responded on Thursday, announcing that fundraisers would be held at the inaugural ATP Cup, which begins on Friday, the Australian Open, which starts on 20 January, and warm-up events held between the two.
“For weeks we’ve been watching the devastation caused by bushfires across Australia and the people affected are constantly in our thoughts,” said Tiley.
“We want to help these communities in a meaningful way and will announce a number of fund-raising and support initiatives that will be rolled out across the coming weeks.”
The British ATP Cup team – which does not contain an injured Andy Murray – are captained by Tim Henman (far left).
Tim Henman who is captaining the British team at the ATP Cup in Sydney said he was confident that the air quality will not be a problem at the tournament.
“I think in the context of what this country is going through with the bushfires and for us having to deal with perhaps slightly poor air quality, I think there is the perspective,” he said.
“I don’t envisage it being a problem at all.”
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Source – Sport365coza