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Shane Warne's Baggy Green Raises Over Australian $1 Million for Bushfire Appeal

Shane Warne's "baggy green" cap sold at auction for more than Aus$1 million on Friday, with all funds going to help victims of bushfires raging in Australia.

AFP |January 10, 2020, 10:11 AM IST
Shane Warne's Baggy Green Raises Over Australian $1 Million for Bushfire Appeal

Cricket star Shane Warne's "baggy green" cap sold at auction for more than Aus$1 million (nearly $700,000) Friday, with all funds going to help victims of bushfires raging in Australia.

The spin legend wore the cap during his 145-Test career, in which he took more than 700 wickets, and said he was blown away after a late bidding war pushed the price to Aus$1,007,500.

It far exceeded the Aus$425,000 paid at auction for the cap belonging to the legendary Donald Bradman when that was sold for charity in 2003.

"Thank you so much to everyone that placed a bid & a huge Thank you/ congrats to the successful bidder - you have blown me away with your generosity and this was way beyond my expectations," he tweeted.

"The money will go direct to the Red Cross bushfire appeal. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you."

The item comes with an autographed certificate of authenticity from Warne, with the identity of the highest bidder also known.

Commonwealth Bank, who have a long association with the sport in Australia, purchased the cap and also revealed that it would be taken on a national tour to help raise more funds for the relief work before eventually being put on permanent exhibition at the Bradman Museum in Bowral.

The auction website listed the anonymous buyer as 'MC from Sydney' which led to some speculation that former Australia captain Michael Clarke was the one who bought Warne's baggy green. However, the actual buyer was Commonwealth Bank CEO Matt Comyn.

“I am delighted that CBA has been able to secure Shane’s cherished Baggy Green cap," Comyn said in a statement.

"This has not only raised another $1 million for bushfire relief, it will also enable us to raise further funds for the bushfire appeal as the cap commences a fundraising tour across the country before retiring as a permanent exhibit at the Bradman Museum in Bowral to be enjoyed by all Australians and cricket fans.

“I want to thank and commend Shane for giving up one of his most cherished possessions for such an important cause.

"He has demonstrated the same Aussie spirit we are seeing across the country with acts of generosity and dedication throughout this disaster as communities rally to support each other."

The "baggy green" is awarded to Australian players when they make their Test debut and is worn as a badge of pride when they are on the field.

Warne decided to put the cap up for auction on Monday to help those who have suffered in the catastrophic fires that have devastated parts of the country and left at least 26 people dead and almost 2,000 homes destroyed.

"The horrific bushfires in Australia have left us all in disbelief. The impact these devastating fires are having on so many people is unthinkable and has touched us all," he said then on Instagram.

"Everyone is in this together and we continue to find ways to contribute and help on a daily basis."

Fellow cricketers Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell and D'Arcy Short have pledged to donate Aus$250 for every six they smash during the ongoing Big Bash League Twenty20 tournament.

Top tennis players have also got involved, with world number one Ashleigh Barty donating her winnings from this week's Brisbane International to the Red Cross, although she was knocked out at the first hurdle.

Fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios, among others, has promised Aus$200 for each ace he serves during the home summer of tennis.

A "Rally for Relief" exhibition match at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne featuring Roger Federer and Serena Williams is due to take place on January 15 ahead of the Australian Open to raise further funds.

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