Hick and Knight to join World XI for tsunami relief

The former England batsmen Graeme Hick and Nick Knight will play for a World XI in three one-day charity matches against New Zealand later this month. Shane Warne will lead the team in matches to raise funds for the victims of the Boxing Day tsunami.

The former England batsmen Graeme Hick and Nick Knight will play for a World XI in three one-day charity matches against New Zealand later this month. Shane Warne will lead the team in matches to raise funds for the victims of the Boxing Day tsunami.

The world's leading wicket-taker, Warne, and his spin bowling rival Muttiah Muralitharan are joined by the former South African all-rounder Jonty Rhodes, who will be player-coach of a Federation of International Cricket Associations' World XI, that also includes Chaminda Vaas, Sanath Jayasuriya, Heath Streak, Matthew Elliott, Ian Harvey and Lance Klusener.

The first match takes place at Jade Stadium in Christchurch on 22 January with the remaining two at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, on 24 January and Westpac Park, Hamilton, on 26 January.

"Given the devastating effect of the tsunami on Sri Lanka and Asia, as well as the inclusion of Sri Lankans in the FICA XI, it is appropriate that NZC further supports international efforts by cricketing countries to help raise funds for tsunami victims," said the NZC chief executive, Martin Snedden. "Funds raised through the series will be distributed to Sri Lanka Cricket's 'Cricket-Aid' and World Vision."

The NZC also confirmed that the Sri Lankan cricket team will be back in New Zealand in early April. The Sri Lankans will return to play the two Tests postponed following the abandonment of the tour after the tsunami struck.

Snedden hopes that although the fixtures will take place well beyond the usual season in New Zealand the weather will not be too much of an obstacle. A decision about the venues for the rescheduled Tests should be made within the next two weeks.

The new schedule will see Sri Lanka arrive on 26 March and play a three-day warm-up match starting on Monday 28 March, with the first Test against the Kiwis starting on Monday 4 April. The second Test will begin a week later.

* Leicestershire have appointed Hylton Ackerman as captain for next season, replacing the departed Brad Hodge. The 31-year-old South African batsman has led Western Province, Gauteng and South Africa A in the last five years. Darren Maddy will continue as vice-captain.

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