Sydney: Cricketers from both Australia and New Zealand wears black armbands on day one of the third Test here in honour of the fire and emergency personnel who have been dealing with fires across the country over the last few weeks.
Tim Paine, the Australia Test skipper, said the Sydney Test is an opportunity to provide a distraction to the people affected by the fires. "At times, for us, it's important to look outside the bubble that we live in as international cricketers," he said.
"The way we look at it is it might be an opportunity for us to provide a distraction for people and a bit of happiness if we can by playing a brand of cricket that Australians are proud of," Paine said.
"We speak about one of the things being humble and showing some humility, so as I've said before, our thoughts certainly go out to the people that have been affected by it. The firefighters have been the real heroes of this summer. They're taking on some extreme risk and putting themselves in some pretty (dangerous) situations," he said.
The hazardous fires have affected thousands of people in New South Wales, with the state declaring an emergency for the third time in as many months. Cricket Australia have declared that if the smoke from the fire reaches the Sydney Cricket Ground, they will pull the players out of the field, an ICC report on Thursday said.
"We won't be putting the players' health at risk, nor will be putting the health of match officials or fans at the match, or our own people, our own employees, at risk," said Kevin Roberts, the Cricket Australia chief executive. "That's something we'll be monitoring consistently throughout the five days' play,"he said.
"This is quite a unique situation. But we're as confident as we can be that we've got the right expertise around us and that good judgment will be exercised and the safety of everyone at this great ground will be put first ? Really, we need to be treating this like rain delays," Roberts added.(UNI)