Warwickshire have agreed to dedicate a day during the season in honour of Cure Leukaemia after agreeing a three-year deal with the blood cancer charity.
The first such day will be during the third npower Test between England and India at a revamped Edgbaston in August when Warwickshire will donate £2 from every ticket sold between now and the first day of the Test on August 10 to the charity.
The Eric Hollies Stand, better known as the Rea Bank, will be renamed the Cure Leukaemia Stand for the first day of the Test. The partnership caps a long standing relationship between Warwickshire and Cure Leukaemia, which has seen the club raise thousands of pounds through cricketing initiatives, including a special edition match shirt in honour of the charity and a dedicated fundraising day at a previous county fixture.
Ashley Giles, the club’s director of cricket and former England spinner, has also been a patron of the charity for several years. The club’s commercial director, James McLaughlin, is also a trustee for the charity and a number of Warwickshire beneficiaries have also donated substantial amounts of money to Cure Leukaemia.
“We’ve been working with Cure Leukaemia for several years and are determined to make an even bigger impact on the charity, helping it to save more lives through the pioneering treatments and world-class research programmes it delivers here in the West Midlands,” said Warwickshire chief executive Colin Povey.
“Everyone at Warwickshire County Cricket Club and the England & Wales Cricket Board is very excited by our plans, and is determined to raise as much money as possible for Cure Leukaemia through this three-year campaign.
“Turning the Sydney Cricket Ground pink in honour of the Jane McGrath Foundation in the fifth Test of the recent Ashes series highlighted the positive influence that an international cricket match can make to a charity.”
The Cure Leukaemia Day at the Edgbaston Test match will see players and volunteers adopting the charity’s colour red, with collection buckets and mobile phone competitions to help raise money on the day in addition to that raised via the ticket sales. All spectators within the Cure Leukaemia Stand will also receive a red t-shirt to wear in honour of the charity.Based at the Centre for Clinical Haematology at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Cure Leukaemia undertakes world-class research into cures for the disease and employs 15 research nurses to administer treatments at hospitals across the West Midlands.
Varun Chopra, meanwhile, has steered Warwickshire to a five-wicket win over Barbados in their opening CGI Cup match at the Kensington Oval in Bridgetown.
With fierce competition for batting places this season the former Essex opener took the chance to impress at the earliest possible opportunity by stroking 71 from 58 balls which secured a last ball win.
Chopra, who was not a regular in Warwickshire’s one-day side last season, shared a second wicket stand of 106 in 15 overs with Keith Barker (47) but there was a stutter after they were separated as Warwickshire slipped from 130 for one to 143 for five in pursuit of a target of 148.
Barbados made 147 for five with left-hander Martin Nurse clobbering 56 from 35 balls including a huge straight six off Naqaash Tahir.
Newcomer Maurice Holmes, an off-spinner with a Muttiah Muralitharan action, conceded only 22 runs in his four overs in his first competitive bowl for Warwickshire at senior level and that included a six off the first ball he delivered for the county.
Warwickshire now meet Yorkshire in the semi-final of the pre-season competition with Derbyshire playing the University of the West Indies in the other semi-final.