Thatscricket - News - ~~Aussies bat for quake victims~~ cause~~

Published: Saturday, February 10, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
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Sydney: When Australia went in to bat on Saturday on the second final of the just concluded Carlton One-day International cricket series at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) against West Indies, they were doing so for a cause.The Australian cricket team was collecting relief funds for the victims of the earthquake that has left about 30,000 people dead in Gujarat. The Australian Cricket Board (ACB) had earlier decided to launch its own Indian Earthquake Appeal in association with aid agency World Vision Australia.The well-contested match was punctuated with a number of visuals showing the ghastly dimensions of the devastation caused by the catastrophic earthquake, which hit Gujarat last month.The coverage of the second final between Steve Waugh's all-conquering Australian team and rejuvenated West Indies was interrupted several times for highly emotive appeal by television commentator and former Indian Test captain, Sunil Gavaskar. He also narrated his own harrowing experience when tremors were felt in Mumbai.Kerry Packer's Channel Nine television network also joined ACB-World Vision combination allowing the appeal to be run throughout the day-night match telecast. World-renowned cricket media commentators like former Australian captains Richie Benaud and Ian Chappell, constantly drew televiewers' attention towards the plight of the quake survivors.Gavaskar also supported launching of the appeal for Gujaratis, whom he described as the most "fanatical" of cricket supporters anywhere in the world. He also expressed gratitude on the part of the earthquake survivors to the organisers of the Indian Earthquake Appeal.The ACB kicked off this appeal with an initial contribution of Australian $ 10,000 and were assured of full cooperation of Australian cricketers by the Australian Cricketers' Association head, and former Test player, Tim May."The Board and players want to demonstrate in a practical way our support for the people of India - another cricketing loving country," ACB chairman Denis Rogers said. "We hope by focusing the spotlight on the victims this week we can enlist the practical support of cricket followers across Australia."The ACB administration had earlier expressed its willingness to contribute in some form to the relief work being done by various Indian and international aid agencies. The Cricketers' Body had also extended its full support in this pursuit.The captain of the Australian team Stave Waugh is believed to have shown a keen interest in relief work. He is also associated with a number of charities in India and keeps making trips to places like Kolkata and Mumbai to raise funds or bring awareness about the plight of downtrodden in India.The Australian government has announced Aus $ 2.5 million relief aid for the earthquake victims pledged by Canberra earlier. Out of this amount, theAustralian Red Cross would receive Aus $ 500,000 for providing temporary shelters and logistical support.TEAR Australia would also receive the same amount to help in providing safe drinking water, basic sanitation, essential medicines and trauma counseling to the victims and Community Aid Abroad (Oxfam Australia) is the third recipient of half a million dollars for provision of immediate food, drinking water and medical needs.The Australian cricket team would leave for its tour of India on February 13. The tour itinerary includes three Tests and five One-day International games. The first Test starts at Mumbai on February 27.India Abroad News Service

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