When Shane Warne decided to put his baggy green cap up for auction, surely even he couldn’t have anticipated the response.
Rocked as so many Australians have been by the bushfires that have destroyed livelihoods, homes and wildlife across the country, the legendary leg-spinner chose to do his bit by auctioning off one of his most prized cricket possessions.
‘BIGGER THAN TENNIS’: Nick Kyrgios’ tears over bushfire disaster
The cap, which Warne wore throughout his decorated Test career, comes with an autographed certificate of authenticity.
So sought-after was the once-in-a-lifetime piece of cricket memorabilia that bids came flying in quicker than the website hosting the auction could initially handle.
“The bushfires have been absolutely horrific, and they’ve touched all of us in a way, we’ve seen the total devastation,” Warne said on Fox Sports.
“Lives have been lost, families have been lost, and over 500 million wildlife has died. The stories are horrific.
Warne confirmed that 100 percent of the proceeds from the auction would go to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal.
By 8am on Thursday morning (AEDT), the top bid on Warne’s baggy green cap was a staggering $511,000.
To put the astronomical figure into perspective, a similar item once worn by Australia’s most revered cricketer – Sir Donald Bradman – once commanded $425,000.
Of course, Warne is just one of a lengthy list of Aussie sports stars doing their bit for the victims of the bushfire crisis.
Fellow cricket great Jeff Thomson has also put his baggy green cap up for grabs, while Nick Kyrgios sparked a wave of fundraising from within the tennis community.
Sporting community rallies in support of bushfire victims
Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley announced on Wednesday that Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Kyrgios will headline a charity exhibition event called Rally for Relief on Rod Laver Arena.
Australian Open tournament organiser Tiley also told reporters that Naomi Osaka, Caroline Wozniaki and Stefanos Tsitsipas will also take part in the event to be held on the evening of January 15.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg announced the opening week of the 2020 season will be a dedicated Bushfire Appeal Round to raise money for those affected.
The NRL’s plan will form part of a whole-of-game approach with the Queensland Rugby League , NSW Rugby League and the Rugby League Players Association working to devise a plan to maximise fundraising.
Rugby league’s assistance comes as the AFL and Cricket Australia are considering hosting special fundraising matches next month.
An AFL State of Origin match could also be held late in February, according to the Herald Sun, while the Sydney Morning Herald reports Cricket Australia will confirm a match as a curtain-raiser to the Big Bash League final on February 8.