Cricket is a global sport. Due to the tremendous popularity of the sport, the brand value of the players is enormous. For years, there have been cricketers who have used their star power to catalyze a social cause.
In 2005, Australian speedster Glenn McGrath founded the McGrath Foundation along with his wife, Jane McGrath. The institution provides education and support regarding Breast Cancer in Australia. The Foundation has supported around 95,000 families since its inception and has over 170 centers in the country.
Jane McGrath was diagnosed with breast cancer, and through the organization, she intended to share her struggle and help others. Australian Cricket organizes a ‘Pink Test’ once in their home season as an ode to this initiative.
Ruth Strauss, the wife of former English captain Sir Andrew Strauss, died in 2018. She was diagnosed with incurable lung cancer, which affected non-smokers. In her memory, Ruth Strauss Foundation was founded. They support the families suffering from a loss due to this cancer and conduct more research to fight the illness. The Foundation arranges for several events around the UK. During the 2021 India tour of England, both English and Indian players wore red caps on day two of the second test match to show their solidarity with the cause.
India’s premier batsman and vice-captain in the limited-overs games, Rohit Sharma, has voiced out his support on the issue of one-horned Rhinos. In one of the Indian Premier League 2021 games against Bangalore, Rohit walked out with shoes supporting the cause of rhinos. The gesture was appreciated all across the world. In 2018, WWF India’s Rhino conservation announced Rohit Sharma as their ambassador. Besides Rhinos, Rohit has often spoken about the need to save the oceans. With a massive following on social media, he involves thousands of people in conversations regarding the same.
Former English Batter Kevin Pieterson has been the face of rhino conservation in the world of cricket. Since his official retirement from cricket, Kevin has been associated with the cause of saving the rhinos. He shot for National Geographic’s documentary ‘Save this Rhino’ in 2020. The documentary shed light on the plight of the Indian Rhinos. Kevin, like Rohit, has been very vocal about all the activities and the need to conserve the rhinos. He has voiced his dissent about the acts of poaching and abuse against the animals.
Australian Legend Brett Lee founded “Mewsic - The Brett Lee Foundation” in 2011. This initiative aimed to serve underprivileged Indian children through music. The Foundation promotes Music Therapy in the country. They have also associated centers in different cities for teaching music. Besides, they also hold timely workshops to help children learn various instruments and empower themselves with them.
In the early 2000s, Muralidharan and Kushil Gunasekara established the ‘Foundation of Goodness.’ Founded in the coastal village of Seenigama, the Foundation served the locals with their basic needs of education, healthcare, and housing. The project gained popularity among the cricketing fraternity, and cricketers from Australia and England offered their assistance to the cause. The Foundation aims to build a sports complex for war-hit civilians. The million-dollar plan would include a school, IT training centers, and a sports center.
The former Pakistan captain and the current Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, was famous for his charitable work during the cricketing days. The Foundation aims to improve the living standards of Pakistanis by catalyzing economic growth and advocating for emergency funds. The world cup winning captain had generated funds for the first Cancer hospital in Pakistan. The death of his mother due to cancer was the inspiration for him to do so.
The World winning captain of the Australian team, Steven Waugh, founded the ‘Steve Waugh Foundation’ in 2005. The Foundation is to improve the standard of living amongst children with rare diseases. Before starting his Foundation, Waugh worked with the ‘Udayan’ in Kolkata, which works for children affected by Leprosy. The initiative was made famous by Steve Waugh with his association. Steve Waugh, along with Lynette, organizes events for generating the funds for the cause.
Man of the tournament for the 2011 world cup and a cancer survivor himself, Yuvraj Singh founded the ‘Youwecan”. The Foundation focuses on several healthcare issues, with cancer being at the center of it. Besides assisting cancer patients, the Foundation also works to rub off the stigma attached to the illness. After detecting cancer in 2011, Yuvraj took a year's treatment and made a comeback in the national team in 2012.
The two-time world cup winner Ricky Ponting started ‘Ponting Foundation.’ The Foundation is dedicated to helping families to beat cancer. The Ponting Foundation works with several Australian research groups and trusts to raise funds. Besides arranging for funds, the Foundation works towards providing emotional and financial support to the patients. Ponting Foundation has received a significant contribution from the Tasmanian government in Australia.