Game on: Australian stars sign up for unique COVID fundraiser

Some of the biggest names in world cricket will trade their bat and ball for a video game controller on Thursday night as they aim to raise $ 100,000 for UNICEF Australia COVID-19 Crisis Appeal in India.

Coming from the idea of ​​Big Bash race leader Josh Lalor, fans will be able to watch Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Starc and Josh Hazlewood live as they talk about cricket and show off their products as players.

From 5:00 p.m. AEST on Thursday evening until 5:00 a.m. AEST the next morning, Lalor will be joined by a rotation of some of the biggest names in the game, with Moises Henriques, Alyssa Healy and South African Rilee Rossouw also participating and more names at to be announced shortly.

Lalor will even host an informal chat with new Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley alongside Australian Cricketers’ Association CEO Todd Greenberg.

The global pandemic has led to an explosion in the popularity of online games, including among cricketers, who have had a lot of free time in quarantine and in bio-secure bubbles over the past 12 months.

Lalor says the 12-hour live broadcast on his Twitch page will allow fans to see some of the world’s best cricketers in a more relaxed setting and to raise money for an important cause.

“What’s nice is that a few guys will be doing what they do in their spare time, which the public doesn’t see a lot,” Lalor told cricket.com.au.

“We see Pat Cummins doing what he does on the cricket pitch, but he’s one of the worst (video game) players you can play with! Which is fair enough because he’s busy doing things. other things in cricket.

“Nathan Lyon is someone I play a lot with and he loves it. He probably doesn’t play enough to improve but plays enough to be frustrated at not being very good, and it’s an entertaining mix.

Lalor celebrates a ticket office at BBL 2020-21 // Getty

“The intention will be to play games, but also to talk a little bit about cricket. It will be a good way to engage and see a different side of these guys.”

Popular games like Warzone and Rocket League will feature, but some players have taken a different approach. Lalor and Healy will be playing a fun interactive ‘Siblings Or Date? », A concept made famous by an Instagram page with 1.2 million followers, while Henriques challenged Lalor to some games of chess, which has also seen a recent surge in popularity thanks to the Netflix series, The Queen’s Gambit.

Lalor is also excited to discuss cricket with Hockley and Greenberg, although he admits that the participation of two of Australian cricket’s most powerful administrators was never his intention.

“It exploded a bit and got a bit big for me,” he said with a chuckle. “At first I was just going to laugh alone with a few friends, but now it’s been amplified enormously.

“I thought it would be great for these guys (Hockley and Greenberg) to sit down and talk about cricket with the audience in a way that they are not used to. It will be a great opportunity for them to present a message. slightly different to the cricket audience.

“I’m more than comfortable talking about the game of cricket with these guys. It could have been a little different when the relationship between the CA and the ACA was a little more icy – maybe I should have worn a referee jersey – but at the moment I think the game is going into a very good direction. “

Lalor’s idea was inspired in April by Cummins’ donation of $ 50,000 to UNICEF Australia Appeal and he says all donations, no matter how small, will help those affected by the ongoing health crisis.

The 33-year-old says a shared love and passion for the game means he and all Australian cricketers have a special connection to the Indian people and that he has been forced to help during the crisis, which officially claimed the lives of over 330,000 Indians.

“As an Australian cricketer we have a unique relationship with Indians,” he said.

“It’s a beautiful part of the world, they are absolutely crazy about cricket and they go out of their way to make every cricketer feel welcome and accommodated.

“If we are able to fundraise to help what is happening in India, it will go a long way. “

Australian Cricket has so far raised more than $ 280,000 through UNICEF Australia’s COVID-19 India Crisis Appeal.

Join Josh Lalor on his Twitch page starting at 5 p.m. AEST Thursday as Australian cricket unites to raise funds for UNICEF India COVID-19 Crisis Appeal

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