Australian cricketer Shane Warne’s prized 'baggy green' cap raised more than A$1 million ($686,000) on Friday for bushfire relief efforts after the former leg-spinner donated it for auction.
Twenty-seven people have been killed and thousands made homeless in recent months as huge fires scorched through more than 25.5 million acres of land, an area the size of South Korea.
The baggy green is presented to Australian players when they make their Test debut and they receive just one for their entire career. The Aussie cricketer donated the cap to an online auction site on Monday. The auction closed at 10 a.m. on Friday (2300 GMT Thursday) with a final public bid of A$1,007,500.
"Unbelievable … so generous from everyone. Totally blown away," Warne said on Twitter shortly before the auction closed.
The auction attracted global interest and the price eclipsed the A$425,000 achieved by the late Don Bradman's baggy green when it was sold in 2003.
"We have been overwhelmed and it is a fantastic result," Marc Cheah, head of marketing for auctioneers Pickles, said.
"Other baggy greens have been auctioned and Don Bradman’s got $425,000 about 15 years ago, but the Don is the Don. He’s the greatest cricketer that ever lived," Cheah said in relation to the widely held recognition Bradman was the best batsman the game has produced.
"But Shane is also right up there and that drove a lot of traffic and momentum, while the cause is also very worthwhile."
Warne, 50, is one of many local and international athletes to support the fundraising for bushfire victims with several cricketers promising to donate a sum based on the number of sixes they hit in Australia’s Big Bash Twenty20 competition....