Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar is back in Australia one more time, however, in a different role. From touring Down Under as a teenager to becoming one of the most beloved cricketers around the world – Tendulkar’s journey and his connect with Australia is a special one. In Sydney for an important cause, Tendulkar will be coaching Ricky Ponting XI in the much-talked-about Bushfire Cricket Bash.

Urging fans to donate generously to support Australians affected by the massive Bushfires, the 46-year-old calls this incident an alarming situation worldwide. Tendulkar said he had been moved by the devastation caused to both humans and wildlife by the bushfires in recent months.

“This is an alarming situation, it’s catastrophic – that’s an understatement,” Tendulkar told reporters during an event in Sydney. “You see the number of lives it has affected, not only humans but also wildlife which sometimes people don’t talk about. That is equally important.

“I’m so happy I’m here in whatever way to support the cause, to raise money.”

Tendulkar, who was accompanied by former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh – also spoke about his special connection with Australia and it’s people.

“Australia has always been dear to me. In 1991, as an 18-year-old I remember coming here (for the first time). I spent almost four months here. I almost had an Aussie accent when I went back to India.”

“The competitive cricket that I played here at the age of 18 helped me a lot in my career, so I have a special feeling for Australia and Australian people,” the former India captain added.

Tendulkar also revealed former Australian fast bowler Brett Lee was the conduit for his involvement in Sunday’s charity game scheduled to be played at the Junction Oval in Melbourne.

“I received a message from Brett Lee. Brett said that Kevin (Roberts, Cricket Australia’s chief executive) would like to be in touch with you.”

“It was a no-brainer. From the moment I was asked, I said, ‘yes I’m more than happy to come here'”, he said.

Yuvraj, who played 40 Tests and 304 ODIs in India colours, will also be part of the Gilchrist XI. The flamboyant all-rounder, who famously hit Stuart Broad for six consecutive sixes in 2007 World T20, was asked if he hoped to replicate those feats on Sunday.

“I don’t know if I’ll be able to hit one at the moment,” Yuvraj laughed.

“I don’t know how I’m going to play fast bowlers…I hope (Lee) is not bowling 150kph at this moment… If he’s bowling 150kph, I think I’ll be at the non-striker’s end,” he added.

He hoped the Bushfire relief match would help struggling communities. “It’s sad to see people dying and more than a billion animals dying and some of the animals are (at risk of) going extinct,” said Yuvraj.

“It’s sad times for humanity but we’re here to support each other. Hopefully, we can get generate as much funds as possible around the world and get everyone back on their feet.”

The Bushfire Bash and the BBL final, along with Australia’s women’s matches, form part of Cricket Australia’s ‘Big Appeal’.

Since September 2019, Australia has battled a bushfire crisis which has claimed at least 33 human lives and that of millions of animals.