Members of the Australian Cricket Team officially said goodbye to their home country today before they embark for the United Kingdom this weekend in their quest to reclaim The Ashes.
Captain Michael Clarke joined teammates Brad Haddin, Peter Siddle, James Pattinson, Matthew Wade, Mitch Starc, Nathan Lyon, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Clint McKay, Phillip Hughes and Ryan Harris at the official farewell morning tea which was held in Hangar 96 at the Qantas Sydney Jetbase.
Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, who attended today’s event to wish the players good luck said: “We are extremely proud of all of the members of the VB Tour of England squad and we look forward to seeing our best take the field to hopefully return the urn.
“We are under no illusions that the Australian cricket team will go into this Ashes series as the underdog, however all of the players relish the challenge before them and are buoyed by the knowledge the nation is right behind them.
“Cricket is in great shape in our country as we head into 10 back-to-back Tests against England. Four of the last seven years have seen record crowds at cricket matches played in Australia, our average TV audiences rate higher than any other Australian sport and cricket is Australia’s highest participation sport with 950,000 national participants.”
Mr Sutherland also expressed his gratitude towards Qantas for holding today’s function.
“Cricket Australia would like to thank our official airline and sponsor Qantas for hosting today’s event and being a committed force behind the Australian cricket team since 2011. Qantas’ partnership ensures the Australian Cricket team has the best travel experience possible,” he said.
Qantas Group Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce said the airline was delighted to be partnering with the Australian cricket team.
“Qantas has been flying Australian cricketers to England to compete for the Ashes for decades,” Mr Joyce said.
“Our pilots and crew are honoured to be flying the Australian cricket team to England, via our new hub in Dubai. We’ll be supporting them every step of the way and we’re reserving seat 1A for the Ashes urn when the team makes its return to Australia.”
Cricket Australia is calling for all Australians to register with the Australian Cricket Family (ACF) by 5pm on Tuesday 25 June for their best chance to secure tickets to the Commonwealth Bank Ashes 2013-14 Series.
ACF Membership is free and provides priority access to discounted tickets (compared to general public pre-purchased ticket prices and at-the-gate ticket prices). For more information please visit www.cricket.com.au/acf.
The Australian Cricket Team will begin the VB Tour of England with the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy on 8 June. The first Ashes Test begins on 10 July at Trent Bridge.