Spin legend Shane Warne Monday announced plans to auction the "beloved" baggy green cap he wore throughout his 145-Test cricket career to raise money for victims of bushfires raging in Australia. The "baggy green" is awarded to Australian players when they make their debut and is worn as a badge of pride when they are on the field. Given Warne's exploits on the field and his high profile off it, local media predicted it could fetch up to Aus$500,000 (USD 345,000). Warne, who took more than 700 Test wickets, said he wanted to help those who have suffered in the catastrophic fires that have devastated parts of the country.
"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 on Instagram.
"Everyone is in this together and we continue to find ways to contribute and help on a daily basis."
He said that is why he decided to auction off his "beloved green cap".
Warne's incredible gesture earned him praise on social media.
This is incredible .. My bid is 25k Aussie Dollars .. https://t.co/ByOkzJDkGO— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 6, 2020
Awesome Warnie!— Ryan Fox (@ryanfoxgolfer) January 6, 2020
Special stuff! https://t.co/7VJgk4CsGo— AB de Villiers (@ABdeVilliers17) January 6, 2020
Warnie that is just so bloody incredibly selfless. Amazing.— Reg Roberts (@RugbyReg) January 6, 2020
Wow. I know what that baggy green means to Warnie. Amazing gesture. Please bid generously.https://t.co/olmfWEsbJN— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) January 6, 2020
i cannot overstate the importance of a cricketer's baggy green - especially shane warne. the greatest spin bowler in history. the hat is a sign of you representing your country, and he's selling his off to help our firies. it's at 40k already. you're a legend warnie https://t.co/tPLR9eyOmH— (@brooketimes3) January 6, 2020
Wow @ShaneWarne. A wonderful gesture to part with the baggy green given what it means to an @CricketAus cricketer. For such a great cause and if I win the lotto before it expires I will definitely bid! Well done mate.— Rhys (@OfficialRhys) January 6, 2020
The devastating fires, which have so far claimed 24 lives and destroyed more than 1,800 homes, have sparked an outpouring of generosity from sports stars in Australia.
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.
Fellow Australian Nick Kyrgios, among others, have promised Aus$200 for each ace they serve during the home summer of tennis.
A "Rally for Relief" exhibition match at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne is due to take place on January 15 ahead of the Australian Open, with "the world's top players" taking part.