In the world of sport, there is a lot of money. Cricketers, in particular, earn quite a bit throughout their careers. Hence, there are a lot of them who love giving back to the society. A lot of cricketers, present and former, believe in charity.
In fact, Steve Waugh once said, “If you don’t help people who are in need, it’s just not cricket.” The senior Waugh himself implements that and there are a lot of star players who do the same as well. Some have started it because of their own life experiences and some out of their own interest.
Hence, here we bring to you a list of cricketers who seem the most charitable. These are just 10 of them but there may be other ones who are putting in an effort to contribute to charity as well.
1. Glenn McGrath
Glenn McGrath is arguably the greatest fast bowler Australia has ever produced. He long held the record for most wickets (563) by a fast bowler in Test cricket before James Anderson broke it last year. He did well in white-ball cricket too and was the flag-bearer of Australia’s formidable bowling attack through the late 1990s and 2000s.
The New South Wales pacer bid adieu to the game in 2007. However, even before he retired, McGrath had started the McGrath Foundation. It was formed as a support for breast cancer and its education in Australia. McGrath’s wife Jane had been diagnosed with the same in the early 2000s. She got treatment but was re-diagnosed in 2003. Hence, that led to the creation of the organisation in 2005.
Jane died in June 2008 and since then McGrath has been an active participant working with the organisation and raising funds all around Australia for cancer patients. They try to provide the best facilities for breast cancer patient and try to educate them on the same as well.
2. Imran Khan
Imran Khan is the Prime Minister of Pakistan today. He was one of the greatest all-rounders the game has ever seen. He was Pakistan’s hero in 1992 when he led his country to their maiden World Cup title. However, it is a little-known fact that Imran Khan is one of the most charitable cricketers.
The former Pakistan captain built Shaukat Khanum Memorial Trust in the memory of his late mother. He visioned at providing medical care to the poor and needy. In fact, his organisation raised a fund of $25 million dollars which helped him contribute in building the country’s first-ever charitable cancer hospital.
That’s not all. Imran Khan also started a technical college in Mianwali District which is named Namal. It strives in providing a large percentage of their students with financial aid. In fact, this college is affiliated to the University of Bradfordshire (UK).
3. Ian Botham
Ian Botham is often remembered for his cricketing achievements, for the knighthood he obtained in 2007 and for all his contribution towards England cricket. However, he is also one of the most charitable cricketers in the world.
The former England all-rounder has built and contributed in charity through long-distance charity walks. Till date, he has led 12 such walks. He first started out in 1985 with a 900-mile trek from John o’ Groats to Land’s End. Hence, Botham has been pretty active in such activities. He has raised £12 million from charity and hence, leukaemia research has benefitted the most.
In fact, in 2003, he became the president of Leukemia Research, one of UK’s leading blood cancer charity. Hence, it was his efforts in charity as well as cricket that got him the knighthood and not only the latter.
4. Steve Waugh
Steve Waugh is perhaps one of the best Australian captains to have ever played the game. Not only as captain, Waugh did well with the bat too. He was among the top batsmen during his time. Be it Tests or ODIs, the older Waugh brother was at the top of his game most of the time.
His illustrious career lasted for nearly two decades. However, when he met Mother Teresa, his perspective of life changed. He believed a lot in giving back to the society and contributing in noble causes. Waugh has helped leprosy patients in Kolkata in the past.
At the moment, he runs the Steve Waugh Foundation. The organisation strives to help children and families affected by rare diseases. The official website defines rare disease as, “The rare disease patient is the orphan of the health system, often without diagnosis, without treatment, and therefore, without reason to hope.”
5. Yuvraj Singh
At one point, it seemed like Yuvraj Singh could do no wrong. He was at the peak of his powers. He was the man of the tournament in the 2011 World Cup. Four years back, he was red-hot in India’s 2007 World T20 triumph.
However, when he was diagnosed with cancer, everything fell away. The star all-rounder fought hard and defeated the life-threatening disease but he was never the same post that. The Punjab-born cricketer stayed away from the game for more than a year before making a return in September 2012.
However, after his battle with cancer, Yuvraj along with his mother, started a foundation named YouWeCan. The mission of this was to spread awareness about cancer. There’s a YouWeCan fashion brand as well. The money raised by it goes to the YouWeCan charity.
6. Shahid Afridi
We often remember Shahid Afridi for his multiple U-turns from retirement. The star Pakistan all-rounder played 99 T20 internationals and 398 ODIs in addition to 28 Test matches. He has been a pretty big influencer in Pakistan cricket.
However, very few people know about the other side of Afridi. He has always been up for charity and also runs Shahid Afridi Foundation back in Pakistan. The former all-rounder started the organisation in 2014 to help people with basic healthcare and education in Pakistan.
There’s a maternity hospital in Tangi Banda, Kohat which caters needs of the patients with free treatment, medicines and care. Recently, the foundation was also raising awareness on illiteracy.
7. Irfan Pathan and Yusuf Pathan
Irfan and Yusuf Pathan were one of the first notable brothers to hail from Baroda. The all-rounder duo has played some crucial roles in Indian cricket history. While both the brothers were a part of the 2007 World T20 title win, Yusuf was a part of India’s squad in the 2011 World Cup.
Back in 2014, the two started contributing about 40-50% of their earnings to a trust which helps in the education of poor kids, helps widows and also cancer patients. Their inspiration is their father who used to do charity with a meagre amount of Rs 3000 back when he used to earn.
Not only this, the Pathan brothers have often helped flood victims in Kerala, Baroda and all over India. Last year, they helped with relief materials for the ones affected in the floods in Kerala. Even earlier this year, they arranged food for the flood victims in Vadodara.
8. Virat Kohli
The current Indian captain is one of the best batsmen in world cricket at the moment. There’s no doubt he will go down as one of the greats. Virat Kohli has been piling runs and breaking records for fun over the last few years. Moreover, he is one of the most popular personalities in the world of sport.
However, Kohli hasn’t forgotten to give back to society. He may be bold and aggressive on the field, but he has often contributed in charity. Kohli is a part of the Smile Foundation and has contributed a lot to its success. He is the founder of the Virat Kohli Foundation (VKF). Kohli said that the aim of the organisation is to work with various NGOs and “to create awareness, seek support and raise funds for the various causes they endorse and the philanthropic work they engage in.”
There are charity football matches that the Indian celebrities, including cricketers, actors and other sportspersons play to raise funds for the charity. In fact, Kohli in association with the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group recognise the sporting achievements of various sportspersons in India. They also support some individuals to reach a certain level irrespective of the sport they play.
9. Muttiah Muralitharan
800 wickets in Test cricket, 534 in ODI cricket and 18 in T20Is, we have only seen Muttiah Muralitharan bamboozle batsmen and pick wickets in his career. No other bowler has more wickets than him in either Tests or ODIs or international cricket on the whole. Hence, Muralitharan finished as statistically the best bowler to have ever played the game.
However, the former Sri Lankan spin wizard has also contributed and did his part by contributing and giving back to society. Right from his playing days, he was involved in charity. He established Foundation of Goodness in a village named Seenigama in the early 2000s. The foundation helps people in education, health care, housing, livelihood and other related things.
When the tsunami hit the shores of Sri Lanka, Muralitharan did his best to help people. He helped people get food regularly. He is also an ambassador for the United Nations’ World Food Programme.
10. Sachin Tendulkar
Perhaps, one of the greatest batsmen of all time, Sachin Tendulkar played the game for 24 years. No player has had such a long international career and the ups and downs have been quite a lot for Tendulkar. Hence, there’s a lot that the Mumbaikar has learnt throughout his career.
For quite some time now, Tendulkar has been a big believer in giving back to society. Every year, he takes responsibility of the education of more than 200 underprivileged children through Apnalaya, an NGO that is very close to his mother-in-law. Tendulkar has also helped a couple of villages undergo massive transformations in terms of electricity, water and sewage.
The master blaster helped the ‘Support My School’ campaign raise Rs 13.6 crore towards the revitalisation of 272 schools across India. He has also helped raise funds for more than 300 kids in their treatment of cancer.
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