A common theme on the Cricket Addict is my opinion that cricket is one of the most selfless and generous sports around. This goes from the top, with Mark Taylor purposely declaring his team’s innings with himself on 334*, knowing full well that one more run would take him over the top score of the legendary Don Bradman, to the bottom, when I met a member of the gate staff at Trent Bridge who told me that during the season he was the PA announcer. He loved cricket and wanted to dedicate himself fully to the unglamorous side of the game, especially if that meant standing by a gate on a snowy February afternoon.
But in South African today there was a charity event that has done a great deal to raising the profile of an initiative that has been given prominent publicity in recent years. The 3rd ODI against Pakistan which took place at the Wanderers, or to give its full name, the Bidvest Wanderers, was awash with pink clothing, hair and apparel today as money was raised for PinkDrive, a charity dedicated to improving breast cancer education and awareness.
Watching the pictures on a gloomy afternoon in England it brightened up my day as I saw the South African’s forgo their usual green and gold for a lurid pink outfit – whilst retaining the green hats, helmets and pads. What was especially heartening to see was the Pakistani cricketers, who contacted the South Africans asking if they could help out for the appeal – and they too duly appeared wearing a pink ribbon on their shirts.
The crowd seemed jubilant on what was a sunny day as the cricketers put on a fine spectacle. South Africa scored a massive 343-5 in their 50 overs with Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers amassing a world record-breaking 3rd wicket partnership of 238 runs in just 182 balls. With some lusty blows from the irrepressible Faf du Plessis at the end of the innings they were able to post their target which seemed about par on a good track.
Pakistan had a good go at it but regular wickets hampered their progress until Shahid Afridi cut loose in the middle overs, smashing 88 off 48 balls before he was snaffled at long on. He had to endure a hostile spell from Dale Steyn who got one ball to rear on him and crash into his thumb before he was bowled off a no ball from Ryan McLaren and then launched the subsequent free hit over the roof and out of the ground. This was as good as Pakistan’s fight got, as they finished on 309, a loss by 34 runs.
The cricket did at times feel secondary to the cause that was being supported at the ground however. There were incentives for the cricketers to boost the donations to the pot – such as any 6 hit into the family area produced a R1000 input from Bidvest, whilst hitting a giant inflatable ‘M’ from fellow sponsors Momentum would have drawn a R10,000 donation. It was announced during the change of innings that R250,000 had already been raised, so I would imagine that the final amount will be twice that – a staggering sum of money for an excellent cause.
Breast cancer awareness is a cause close to the heart of the cricketing community. Following the death of Australian legend Glenn McGrath’s wife to the illness in 2008, the Jane McGrath Foundation was set up and support for that cause has been forthcoming over the years. Most notably in 2011, the 5th Ashes Test match went pink as money was raised during the game for the charity.
The cricket family has shown its generosity and spirit once again in supporting the fight against cancer. The money raised, in tough economic times for everybody, is a testament to the amount of goodwill there remains within the game and I hope to see more cricketers supporting the PinkDrive.