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Players offer support for relief operation

England and Pakistan players have visited Pakistani earthquake victims and announced donations to help them recover from the disaster.
Michael Vaughan and Marcus Trescothick travelled to the quake-hit Bagh district of Pakistan-administered Kashmir and distributed relief goods and medicine on Sunday. The pair were so moved by their visit two days ago to the Pakistan Institute of Medical Science hospital in Islamabad that they asked if there was something more they could do. As a result, they were allowed to join the crew of a Chinouk helicopter delivering aid to the thousands of survivors made homeless by the disaster.

"They were so affected by what they saw on Friday that they want to see what is happening themselves," a spokesman for the England board told reporters. "But this is not a tourist trip. They will be loading and unloading as much aid as they can."

England's players and officials are aiming to raise £100,000 towards the relief operation by a number of means, including a golf day and donating their match fees from an ODI.

Separately, Pakistan's cricket team visited earthquake victims in two hospitals and said they would donate their match fee from one of the upcoming Tests against England to help rebuild houses in affected areas.

Inzamam-ul Haq, Bob Woolmer and 13 other players visited Rawalpindi General Hospital and Islamabad Hospital Complex for more than two hours. Shoaib Akhtar, who was reported to be unwell, missed the trip.

"This is our mission to bring smiles back to affected people especially children," said Inzamam. "Our heart goes out for the victims and it's painful to read the death toll and see the injured after such massive devastation."
Inzamam also announced that the Pakistan side would donate part of their match fees for the next year. "All the players will donate their full match-fee from the Multan Test (around 1.5 million rupees or $25,000) and will continue to donate five percent of match fees for one year. We are also donating all the expenses for building 100 houses in affected areas."

Inzamam added that his team would visit the now razed town of Balakot in North West Frontier Province as soon as they had time.