On Saturday 29th July, the third day of England’s Test against South Africa, the Kia Oval will turn blue for Cricket United Day, an annual fundraising and awareness event where three charities – Chance to Shine, the Lord’s Taverners, and the PCA Benevolent Fund – come together to change lives through cricket.
The PCA Benevolent Fund help present and former cricketers and their loved ones in times of hardship and upheaval, by offering financial support, advice, counselling, and a dedicated helpline any player can call.
The Lord’s Taverners is the UK’s leading youth cricket and disability sports charity whose objective is to give disadvantaged and disabled young people a sporting chance. They offer sporting opportunities through a range of cricket programmes, by donating cricket kit and by providing wheelchair accessible minibuses for schools and organisations throughout the UK.
Chance to Shine offer a great introduction to cricket to those who might otherwise not try the game. Over three million children in state schools across the country have taken part in Chance to Shine coaching sessions since their founding, while their Chance to Shine Street program, taking cricket to inner-city areas, is also having great success.
All proceeds raised by Cricket United are split equally between the three charities, and this year, as in previous years, they have asked a selection of England’s Test players to draw ‘doodles’ of some cricketing greats. This year, with the Kia Oval celebrating its 100th Test, there is a twist, with each of those involved having some sort of special relationship with the Kia Oval.
England’s new Test captain Joe Root doodled Graham Gooch, although by his own estimation he should stick to batting rather than drawing. “For Cricket United I’ve drawn England legend Graham Gooch,” says Root. “There’s not much likeness there but I tried to get that impressive tash across! It would be great if you guys could bid on it to raise funds for a wonderful cause.”
Opener Keaton Jennings is another firmly behind the cause. “For Cricket United I’ve decided to draw the Durham Chairman Sir Ian Botham,” Jennings says. “Hopefully it is going to raise a lot of money and go towards a good cause.”
Legendary fast bowler James Anderson, meanwhile, took the opportunity to have a bit of fun at the expense of his friend and ex-England teammate Graeme Swann. “Being the 100th Test at the Oval, I thought I’d draw some legends of the game,” says Anderson. “Two legendary spinners who have done fantastically well at the Oval so I’ve drawn Shane Warne and Muttiah Muralitharan… I had a little bit of space left so I just put Swanny on there as well.”
In the past four years the auctions for doodles have raised over £40,000 for the three causes. The auctions close during the evening of Sunday 30th July.
You can bid for your favourite here
Here are the doodles – click on a picture to be taken through to its bidding page