Dhoni stars in UK-based charity match

Indian legend hits winning runs as Cricket for Heroes concept raises $650,000

MS Dhoni smashed the winning runs for the Help for Heroes XI as they beat the Rest of the World XI by four wickets in front of 20,000 people packed into The Oval at last night’s Cricket for Heroes match in Surrey, England.

Nearly $650,000 was raised for Help for Heroes, a UK military charity, as some of the game’s biggest stars took to the historic venue for a memorable evening’s entertainment.

As well as the hugely popular Indian pair of Dhoni and Virender Sehwag, the crowds were thrilled by the likes of Mahela Jayawardene, Brendon McCullum, Matthew Hayden and former England captain Andrew Strauss, who rolled back the years with 26 off 17 balls – an innings that raised £4,000 ($8,666) by itself after a generous supporter sponsored him £1,000 ($2,166) per boundary.

Former England off-spinner Graeme Swann said the occasion was a winner on all fronts.

“I loved it. Having been out of the game for a couple of years, you miss the dressing room, the crowd, the thrill of competing,” Swann said. “So to come here for such a magnificent cause, raising so much money, the whole thing was brilliant.

“The competitive edge was still there, and that was good – it made it a much better spectacle than an exhibition game where no-one really cared about who won or lost.

“We wanted to win that game and we did, which was very pleasing.”


Mahela Jayawardene doing his thing // Getty Images

Teams for the night were selected by England legend Alan Lamb and the sides managed by no less than Michael Holding, David Gower, Sunil Gavaskar and Gary Kirsten.

Big-hitting Kiwi Brendon McCullum captained the Rest of the World XI and wore a GoPro for a large part of his time at the crease – watching from the other end as Mahela Jayawardene produced a master class in T20 batting (see video above).

“This was a fantastic end-of-season party, attended by a galaxy of cricketing stars and 20,000 happy cricket fans,” said Surrey CCC Chief Executive Richard Gould.

“To be able to have this good a time whilst raising nearly £300,000 for a wonderful cause is absolutely perfect and I would like to thank everyone who gave their time and effort to make it a truly memorable occasion.”

Aussie cricketers visited the Help for Heroes rehab complex