Brisbane, Oct 28 (IANS) Next week’s first Test between Australia and New Zealand here will hold extra significance through a partnership between Cricket Australia (CA) and the Returned and Services League (RSL) to commemorate the centenary of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).
As part of the RSL’S National Poppy Appeal, the match will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1915 ANZAC landing at Gallipoli. Just days before Remembrance Day, the Test will involve Australian Defence Force, New Zealand Defence Force and RSL personnel taking part in the official pre-match ceremony.
Cricket’s place during wartime has been well documented, including the famous Shell Green match on December 17, 1915, contested by the ANZACs as a diversionary tactic during preparations for the evacuation of Gallipoli.
More than 450,000 Australians and New Zealanders served in the first World War, including Test cricketer Albert ‘Tibby’ Cotter, who had played 21 Tests and took 89 wickets before enlisting to the Army. Cotter was tragically killed in action in Beersheba in 1917.
The minister for veterans’ affairs and minister assisting the prime minister for the centenary, Stuart Robert, RSL National President Ken Doolan, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sam Jackman and war veteran and Test cricketer Tony Dell will be involved in the Day 1 commemoration.
Fundraising for the RSL will also take place throughout the first day of the Test. The funds raised will be used by the RSL to support a new generation of its members.
CA CEO James Sutherland said the Test match provided a fitting platform to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the legendary ANZAC alliance.
“It’s been a special year for cricket in Australia and New Zealand, having co-hosted a successful World Cup event where both sides performed so well during the course of that tournament and played off in the final at the MCG. But it is clear that there is even greater significance for our two countries this year when you consider that 2015 marks the commemoration of the centenary of ANZAC,” Sutherland said.
“Australia and New Zealand have long been sporting rivals, but the two nations also share an unbreakable bond and this has been epitomised no more so than by the sacrifice and camaraderie of so many men and women from the Australian and New Zealand defence forces over more than a century. The ANZAC legend has become part of the cultural fabric of our two nations and we are very proud to be partnering with the RSL to honour it during the Brisbane Test.”
The first of the three Tests begins in Brisbane on November 5.