Cricketers from across the world use their skills to mentor and raise funds for deprived children in Indonesia
A Rahul Dravid autographed T-shirt reaches Mark Greatbatch through Ross Taylor to be auctioned in Jakarta. There is an interesting story behind the journey of this valuable piece of clothing.
Greatbatch and Taylor, both distinguished cricketers from New Zealand, came to be associated with a venture aimed at raising funds for developing junior cricket in Indonesia. Taylor had acquired the T-shirt from Dravid when playing for Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League. It was a gift from Taylor to Greatbatch, his coach with New Zealand when he was the captain of the national team. And Greatbatch used it for a noble deed.
Former India Test left-arm spinner Venkatapathy Raju and international Noel David, along with England Test batsman Graeme Hick, spent time recently in Jakarta with Greatbatch to share their knowledge with children from an orphanage. “It was a touching experience for me,” said Raju.
The concept was the result of an effort by former Hyderabad first-class wicket-keeper Srinivas Mangalapally. He got these reputed cricketers on one platform. “Being a cricketer it was not a problem. Former cricketers can always contribute in someway and this is a professional way of taking the game to remote corners of the world.”
Raju explained, “Through Srinivas I came to know of this aspect of cricket promotion. The idea was to raise funds for the orphanage. Cricket in Indonesia is still in its nascent stage but there is optimism in all those who have been associated with the game for some time now. The infrastructure is just about getting to improve. They have three grounds with astro-turf pitches.”
It was a revelation for these cricketers that youngsters were willing to play cricket in a country which is known to produce class badminton players. “I was very impressed by some of the youngsters. Being good at badminton their hand-eye co-ordination works very well in cricket too. We played a six-a-side tournament to make the kids aware of the basics of the game. I was pleasantly surprised to see they were quick to learn the lessons.”
Raju gave lessons in bowling and Hick handled batting. David imparted tips in fielding and catching.
“Honestly, I never would have imagined cricket in Jakarta. It was nice to see top players like Greatbatch and Hick sparing time for the orphans. The money we raised went to the orphanage and it gave us all lot of satisfaction. A lot can be done through cricket and cricketers to help the needy,” noted Raju.
On the future ventures, Raju said, “We would like to work towards creating awareness about education. There are many children who are deprived of basic education due to lack of funds or infrastructure. Sports has an important place in society but it can't happen at the cost of education.”