Former Test captain Greg Chappell will return to the scene of his celebrated final chapter in international cricket, the Sydney Cricket Ground, as part of his charity's 'Stars SCG Sleepout' to raise funds and awareness for homelessness in Australia.
It was in January 1984 that Chappell signed off from the Test arena with a match-winning 182 against Pakistan, but the man many regard as Australia's best batsman since Bradman is now using the venue – and his rolodex of sports stars – to draw attention to the plight of this country's homeless youth.
Chappell launched 'The Chappell Foundation' 15 months ago, and the charity – which has zero employees and instead relies on the generosity of volunteers – has already raised $400,000 to donate to those groups on the front line of the fight against homelessness.
"For a country as affluent as ours, to have over 116,000 homeless people is unacceptable," Chappell told cricket.com.au, adding that approximately 40 per cent of those are under 25. "On Sunday, August 5, The Chappell Foundation has organised a 'Sports Stars Sleepout' at the SCG to focus public attention on the size of Australia's youth homelessness problem and to raise funds to help alleviate its impact.
"Very few people choose to be homeless. It's a product of broken homes, broken marriages, broken people. A lot of these people just fall through the gaps, and we'd like to help close some of those gaps."
Together with some revered Australians who serve as patrons on the board of the Chappell Foundation (Sir Peter Cosgrove, Dame Quentin Bryce, John Howard, Kim Beazley, Pat Rafter, Sir Ron Brierley, John Singleton, Basil Sellers, Lisa Wilkinson and Dennis Lillee among them), Chappell has helped assemble an impressive array of sportspeople to join him in the Sleepout on what is expected to be a bitterly cold SCG surface.
The batting great – who will turn 70 two days after the beginning of the event – called out former Australia allrounder and Chappell Foundation board member Lisa Sthalekar as the brains behind an operation that has seen cricketers Mitch Starc, Moises Henriques, Steve O'Keefe, Alyssa Healy, Trevor Chappell, Sean Abbott, Ashleigh Gardner, as well as a host of big names from other sports – Nick Farr-Jones, David Campese, Phil Waugh, Bradley McGee, Benny Elias and Kerri Pottharst – join the cause.
"We've been blown away by the number of past players who have put their hands up to be part of it," Chappell said.
"It's a fantastic array of sports and sportspeople across the spectrum.
"I think that speaks to the fact that homelessness strikes a chord with everyone. As people have become aware of The Chappell Foundation, they've all commented on what a great cause it is, and said good on us for doing it.
"There's plenty of support out there for some high-profile causes, and while there is some good support for homelessness across a realm of services, it still doesn't get on the radar enough.
"As much as we want to raise money, I'm just as keen to raise awareness – I'd like to think we can make a real difference by getting more people aware of what is a huge issue."