No doubt that cricket is a glamorous game. It indeed plays a big role in boosting the national economy of different countries, and for some, it brings fame and glory. In many instances, the cricket world came together, breaking the boundaries of traditional rivalries for bigger causes. For cricket fans across the world it is always enthralling to watch cricket legends coming together and playing cricket in the same field, and that too for a humanitarian cause.
Early in this year, in February, the cricket fans across the world celebrated the reunion of many cricket legends, including Brian Lara and Courtney Walsh on the field. It was a charity match held in Australia to raise funds for the Bushfire victims and recognising the efforts by the volunteers, emergency services etc. Under Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist’s captaincy, two teams were set up and played a 10 over exhibition match. The match could raise $7.7 million for the relief effort.
The World Cricket Tsunami Appeal was another such initiative by the International Cricket Council to raise funds for the relief works followed by Tsunami in 2004. Along with several leading cricketing nations such as India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, many other countries who were affiliated with ICC including Maldives and Thailand were deeply affected by Tsunami. Within two weeks after the disaster, on 10th January, 2015 cricketers from different parts of the world were united in Melbourne Cricket Stadium to play an ODI to extend helping hand in the relief works. They were made into two teams, World XI captained by Ricky Ponting and Asia XI under SauravGanguly. The 2015 cricket match between Help for Heroes XI versus Rest of the World XI was played to help the UK charity raise funds for veterans, military personnel and their families.
The teams were played under the captaincy of M S Dhoni and Brendon McCullum. The history of relief cricket matches goes back to 1986, for the famine relief in Africa. The Rest of the World XI including Imran Khan and Ian Botham played against West Indies, though the game was cut short by rain. Keeping aside the awe and aura that comes with cricket legends’ reunion, cricketing for a cause goes way beyond the values of traditional matches played between countries.