Shane Warne writes about his decision to sell his baggy green cap.
Shane Warne writes about his decision to sell his baggy green cap.

'Why I sold my baggy green'

When I was at the SCG for the last Test of the summer, and the bushfires in Australia were horrendous, particularly in Victoria and NSW, we all sat in shock.

Then when we saw images that were truly heartbreaking, reading stories and seeing images that were horrific, it was on everyone's mind.

I started thinking, what can we all do? How can we help? It was such a tough time for everyone witnessing what was unfolding. Homes were destroyed, lives were lost and over 500 million animals had died too.

When we saw what these brave firefighters were up against and just the sheer amount of land that was burning, I really started to understand the amount of devastation that these fires were causing.

When people put in perspective how big an area it truly was - approaching the size of the UK - it really sank in.

We were sitting there watching cricket, commentating on Australia playing New Zealand, and there were people losing their homes, people were dying.

It touched all of us and I thought I just had to do something. I felt this need to do something. Everyone else was doing things in their own way and I had to do something in my way.

Shane Warne sold his cap for $1 million. Picture: Tim Carrafa
Shane Warne sold his cap for $1 million. Picture: Tim Carrafa

My kids were messaging me too, asking what we could do. My son Jackson said we should put on a game. But I thought that would take too long. I told him they need help now. I was sure Cricket Australia would have organised a charity game, which they have, and I'll play in that too.

But I wanted to do something personal, a gesture that meant something. I came in to the SCG and I said to the Fox Cricket bosses, "I'm going to auction my baggy green".

I asked for their help and to their credit, the whole team was amazing. Fox organised the auction, we announced it on TV and social media, and within 15 minutes the website crashed, so many people were trying to bid.

It was such an amazing response straight away, so we kept promoting it, kept talking about it, trying to raise as much money as possible, so we could have as big an impact as possible.

Shane Warne with Red Cross volunteer Anna Moriarty (left) Monique Macleod of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Ross Pinney, President of the Australian Red Cross.
Shane Warne with Red Cross volunteer Anna Moriarty (left) Monique Macleod of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Ross Pinney, President of the Australian Red Cross.

I was totally blown away by the response and the result. Then the outcome - $1 million, just wow.

That totally exceeded my expectations. Massive thanks to Matt Comyn and the Commonwealth Bank. And a massive thank you to everyone who put in a bid. It really meant a lot to me.

It was sad to see it go, but I have the memories. The cap, and the money that it raised, is going to go to a lot of people who need it rather than sitting on my mantelpiece. It will raise even more money as well when they take it on a national tour, people will take photos, and they will hand another cheque over at the end of that.

That's the thing for me too, it's not just about raising money for now.

After the Black Saturday fires I met an inspirational young boy called Aiden Buchanan who lost his brother, sister and other family members. I saw first- hand what an absolutely devastating impact that can have on someone and I could not fathom what this brave young boy was going through - how could anyone?

An aerial view of Clifton Creek which was burnt in the bushfires. Picture: Alex Coppel.
An aerial view of Clifton Creek which was burnt in the bushfires. Picture: Alex Coppel.

I've stuck by Aiden and the family ever since, and been a mentor and friend because, like now, the impact lasts for such a long time.

It's such a tragedy, it's so horrific to see what people are going through.

Money is needed, for housing, all the physical stuff. And the government will take care of a lot of the infrastructure rebuild.

But there's a lot of stuff people forget about. From my experience with the Buchanan family, I know they need our help in six months, 12 months, next year, too.

A lot of people have to rebuild their whole lives. They have lost loved ones. They have lost everything. Mental health is a huge thing to consider, counselling, there's a lot of things like that need attention as well as all the physical stuff.

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I've had a lot of people get in touch with me too, after the auction, asking me what they could do, how they could donate. People from all over the world, some of my sponsors, here and in England, want to donate. Indian legend Sunil Gavaskar asked me how he could donate.

I put them all in touch with the Red Cross, I know they will spend it where it's most needed.

Then on February 8 we will play that charity game, with as many ex-players, current players and celebrities as we can get.

So many people have put their hands up and contacted me to get involved. This tragedy has touched everyone, here and around the world. And in the best way possible, everyone wants to help.

It's something we can all do, in our own way. Whatever it takes as we are all in this together.

Well done to all the sporting codes and individuals who have donated personal items and raised much-needed funds.



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