Proteas to raise money for Christchurch

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14 February 2012

The South African cricket team are in New Zealand for a tour that includes three tests, three one-day and three Twenty20 internationals. Before those games take place, however, they'll do their bit to help the earthquake-stricken city of Christchurch.

The Proteas will play the Canterbury Wizards in a charity match at the Hagely Oval in Christchurch on Wednesday to raise funds for the city.

Proceeds from the match will be donated towards the costs of rebuilding cricket facilities in the city and will be pulled from the sold-out ticket sales and the players' autographed playing shirts, which will go up for auction.

"The Proteas were approached by Canterbury Cricket via New Zealand Cricket to take part in this fund-raising match in Christchurch," South African team manager Mohammed Moosajee said in a statement this week.

'A worthy cause'

"The players and management felt it was a worthy cause to support given that we are touring the country and that it is on the eve of the anniversary of the devastating earthquake that demolished the city," Moosajee said.

"Gary Kirsten will be participating in a Q and A luncheon prior to the match and the players will be giving away their signed playing shirts which will go up for auction to raise funds.

"We hope that the little bit that the South African cricket team is giving towards the cause will go a long way in restoring the spirit of cricket and the facilities in the city."

Although it is a charity match, the fixture will also serve as an important warm-up match for the Proteas, as they look to get their tour started on good footing.

'Important'

"It's obviously a warm-up match for us, but a very important one," Proteas all-rounder Albie Morkel said at a media briefing at the Basin Reserve.

"We want to start our tour on a high," Morkel said. "Even though we are playing against a state side, we are going to give it horns, we are going to try our best to win the game. It's a charity game, we all know what it is about, but we are going to go out there and really try to get our combinations right from game one."

Morkel made his ODI debut for South Africa in Wellington in 2004, on a forgettable tour for the Proteas in which they were thumped 5-1 in the six-match series. It's nearly a decade later, and Morkel has returned with an experienced mindset and spirited hopes as the young squad prepares to change its fortunes.

"My first tour was in 2004. It was a hard tour for the side. We lost the one-day games quite badly," said Morkel.

'It's good to be back'

"It's good to be back, almost 10 years later," Morkel said. "It's a very nice feeling and I'm experiencing New Zealand a bit, getting out of the hotel.

"It's very different from South Africa, especially weather-wise. It's pretty cold, wet and slippery, you have to adapt to every game, basically every game is a different challenge. We've got a young side here, so it's going to be interesting to see how quickly we can adapt to those conditions.

"Obviously New Zealand is a very tough side to beat in New Zealand, so we've got a big challenge ahead of us."

SAinfo reporter

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Hard-hitting Titans and Proteas all-rounder Albie Morkel (Photo: Albie Morkel)

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