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Last Updated: Friday, 7 January, 2005, 10:03 GMT
Official status for benefit games
An Asian XI will play a World XI in Melbourne
The organisers expect a sell-out for the first match in Melbourne
The International Cricket Council has decided the two tsunami appeal matches will have official status.

The two games, the first of which takes place in Melbourne on Monday, will be classed as one-day internationals.

It means that runs scored or wickets taken will count towards the career record of the players taking part.

All-rounder Abdul Razzaq will join the Asian squad to take on the ICC World XI as a replacement for injured Pakistan team-mate Shoaib Akhtar.

Razzaq is fit to take part despite having to miss the recent third Test against Australia after suffering dizziness and nausea.

Sri Lankan spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, meanwhile, has confirmed he will play in Melbourne, his first major match since undergoing shoulder surgery last August.

Muttiah Muralitharan
Murali has played an active role in the fundraising programme

"The recovery is going well and I am about 80% fit at present and determined to take part in this match, which will hopefully raise millions of dollars worth of much-needed aid," he said.

Muralitharan has been involved with the United Nations World Food Programme since the tsunami disaster, which claimed the lives of more than 140,000 people in 12 countries.

Cricket Australia has sold 56,000 tickets in three days for the game and expect it to be an 80,000 sell-out.

"We are overwhelmed by the support shown by all parties involved with this match, particularly the Australian cricketing public," said chief executive James Sutherland.

TV coverage is to be screened in 122 countries.

ICC Chief Executive Malcolm Speed said that the ICC was delighted that so many broadcasters had come forward to cover the match at short notice.

"The response from broadcasters has been fantastic and we are delighted that the match will be available to viewers in so many countries, including many of those affected by the tsunami," he said.

For a game like this, and the reason for it as well, it is a great occasion
Darren Gough

"These broadcasters have all donated to the World Cricket Tsunami Appeal and during the match viewers will be encouraged to contribute to World Vision's relief efforts."

The World side will play in blue kit with white stripes, while the Asian XI will wear green with gold trim.

England fast bowler Darren Gough, who will play for the World team, says the number one priority for the players will be to provide entertainment.

But he added: "It's great, almost like a career-finisher, playing in the same team as guys I have played against and admired all my life, like Shane Warne and Brian Lara.

"For a game like this, and the reason for it as well, it is a great occasion and I'm just pleased to be here. I've travelled around the world to play."

Interview: England bowler Darren Gough


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