England cricketers sketch portraits to raise money for Cricket United appeal

The England Men’s and Women’s cricket teams have turned cricket into an art form, literally, to raise money for charity.The UK’s three leading cricket charities: The Lord’s Taverners, Chance to Shine and PCA Benevolent Fund asked England cricketers, including Kevin Pietersen, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Charlotte Edwards and Sarah Taylor, to draw portraits of each other in support of their Cricket United charitable appeal.

The result is a unique set of drawings*. Having already displayed his artistry out on the field against Australia and New Zealand, England batsman Joe Root who took Art at A-Level – reveals himself as a gifted artist too with his portrait of Ian Bell and Monty Panesar. Meanwhile, the camaraderie between bowlers James Anderson and Graeme Swann continues on paper with their characteristically humorous doodles of each other. Ian Bell relies on a simple stick man to portray Steven Finn, while the latter’s portrait of Kevin Pietersen is a throwback to 2005 and his unforgettable ‘skunk’ haircut.

The England Women also sketched portraits of each other with Lydia Greenway capturing skipper Charlotte Edwards on paper and Jenny Gunn drawing her fast bowling colleague Katherine Brunt. From today (Friday 26 July), cricket fans will get the chance to bid for the original portraits at eBay.The auction will last for 10 days (ends 1pm on Sunday 4 August) with all proceeds going to Cricket United.

Cricket United is a joint fundraising appeal by The Lord’s Taverners, Chance to Shine and the PCA Benevolent Fund which aims to leave a lasting legacy from the 2013 Investec Ashes series. Earlier this month, former England captain Andrew Strauss called on England and Australian cricket fans to get involved in ‘Cricket United Day’, the UK’s biggest ever cricket awareness day on 23rd August – the third day of the fifth Test – and help turn the Kia Oval into ‘a sea of blue’.

Fans can show their support in a number of ways: by wearing something blue, a colour that unites the three charities at the ground on the day, by making a donation or bid on an England portrait, volunteering or helping to spread the word. An online Cricket United supporters’ stadium allows fans without tickets to the game to get behind the day by buying a ‘virtual seat’ and leaving a message of support. The charities are working in close partnership with England & Wales Cricket Board</a>, Surrey County Cricket Club and their key sponsors.

England skipper Alastair Cook commented, “It’s a bit of fun and the lads enjoyed doing something completely different for charity. We hope the portraits will raise significant funds for three fantastic charities, The Lord’s Taverners, Chance to Shine and the PCA Benevolent Fund, and help improve lives through cricket.

“Rest assured, we won’t be giving up our day jobs, but we’d urge all cricket fans to support the Cricket United appeal either through this one-off auction or by helping to turn the Kia Oval blue on 23rd August.”

The England Women portraits will be auctioned during their Ashes Test match at Wormsley cricket ground in Buckinghamshire 11-14th August. England Women’s captain, Charlotte Edwards said, “I’ve seen at first-hand the inspirational work of the three charities. Funds raised from the sale of the drawings will help support a range of beneficiaries; from children starting out in the game to cricketers retiring from it. And you never know, they may become a collectors’ item one day!”

Twelfth Man, the official England fans community, is encouraging cricket fans to put pen to paper themselves this summer and draw their own portrait of an England player, past or present. The cricket art competition will run throughout the Investec Ashes series and the best five entries will win a set of prints of the England teams’ portraits.

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