Shane Warne will not play in Sunday’s Bushfire Bash
Shane Warne will not play in Sunday’s Bushfire Bash

Legends withdraw from charity match

CRICKET legend Shane Warne has withdrawn from the Bushfire Bash as Cricket Australia desperately attempt to combat the forthcoming Sydney downpour.

Warne's last-minute exit comes after the charity match was moved to Melbourne in a frantic attempt to avoid the Sydney rain. The Bushfire Bash was also pushed back 24 hours, and will now take place on Sunday afternoon.

Warne had a prior commitment this Sunday he couldn't shift and his place as captain of one of the teams will be taken by former Australian Test captain Adam Gilchrist.

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Several other stars - including Michael Hussey, Michael Clarke and Phoebe Litchfield - have also withdrawn due to the last-minute reschedule.

Although Warne was arguably the biggest name taking part in the charity extravaganza, the Bushfire Bash will still feature cricket greats Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara, Andrew Symonds among others.

However, there are lingering fears some of the other players will pull out due to the late change of time and venue.

Up to 50mm of rain is predicted to fall on Sydney this Saturday, and CA took drastic action by relocating the event to Junction Oval in Melbourne. Rather than serving as a curtain-raiser for the BBL final, it will now follow the Australian Women's T20 match against England.

Therefore, the highly-anticipated charity match will be played at a ground that holds only 3000 people, rather than the iconic SCG.

Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting were supposed to captain the two sides in the 10-over match
Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting were supposed to captain the two sides in the 10-over match

According to CA, those who purchased tickets for the BBL final will be contacted by Ticketek regarding refunds.

The SCG reportedly wanted the Bushfire Bash to be pushed back to March and become a curtain raiser for one of Australia's ODIs against New Zealand. However, as Indian legend Sachin Tendulkar has already touched down in Australia, this was not deemed a possibility.

Sixers batsman Steve Smith backed the decision to reschedule the Bushfire Bash.

"I think it's a wise move to postpone or move the bushfire relief game, we don't need people playing on the wicket before the Big Bash final," Smith said.

"If it's going to be raining and things like that, it'll make things really difficult. That's a wise move.

"I think we've earned the right to host the final, the way we've played, and we're hopeful this rain stays away and we can get a game in."

Shane Warne donated his precious baggy green to the Australian bushfire appeal
Shane Warne donated his precious baggy green to the Australian bushfire appeal

Warne played a crucial role in raising awareness for the Australian Bushfire Appeal - his cherished Baggy Green was put up for auction in January and sold for $1,007,500.

That total smashed the price earned for the cap of Sir Donald Bradman, which went for $425,000 in 2003.

Warne played 145 Test matches for Australia during a stellar career, claiming 708 wickets and scoring 3154 runs. He was named one of Wisden's top five cricketers of the century.

Since his retirement in 2007, Warne has turned to cricket commentary, and is currently one of the leading voices behind Fox Cricket's coverage.

Updated Bushfire Cricket Bash squad: Ricky Ponting (c), Adam Gilchrist (c), Brian Lara, Yuvraj Singh, Wasim Akram, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Shane Watson, Andrew Symonds, Brad Haddin, Brett Lee, Alex Blackwell, Dan Christian, Nick Riewoldt, Elyse Villani, Luke Hodge, Cam Smith



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