Eight current and former New South Wales cricketers including Australian wicketkeeper-batter and Breakers captain Alyssa Healy and her husband, Australian and Blues paceman Mitchell Starc, were among a host of athletes and sports people who participated in the inaugural Chappell Foundation ‘Sports Stars Sleepout’ on Sunday night, Cricket NSW reports.
The event involved several sporting stars from a range of sports who volunteered to sleep out on the SCG to raise awareness for the plight of homeless youth in Australia.
A key organizer for the event was Cricket NSW Life Member, former Australian and NSW Breakers player Lisa Sthalekar.
“When I first mooted this idea with the Chappell Foundation, I wasn’t sure how many sports stars would be willing to sleep out on the SCG on a wintry night, but I’ve been blown away by the amount of support,” said Sthalekar.
She was joined by six current players for the sleep out including Healy, Starc, fellow Blues players and Australian representatives Moises Henriques, Steve O’Keefe and Sean Abbott, as well as Australian and Breakers allrounder Ashleigh Gardner.
Former Blues allrounder Trevor Chappell was also among the current and former sports men and women to volunteer to sleep out in support of the foundation initiated by his brother, Australian cricket legend Greg Chappell.
“Earlier this decade, I was living in Melbourne and was staggered by the amount of people that slept rough in the gardens most nights,” Chappell told The New Daily.
“Some of those winter mornings were pretty ordinary. I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like for them through the night.
“Seeing the young people asleep in the park appalled me and when we looked into it, I thought that there might be a few thousand homeless people in Australia.
“But there’s 116,000 people homeless in Australia. This is unacceptable.
“When I go to third-world countries, you expect to see people sleeping rough. But in a country like ours, I just thought that was appalling and unacceptable.”
With friend Darshak Mehta, the former Australia captain established The Chappell Foundation, something he was insistent needed to be about “young people who perhaps haven’t had the good fortune that I have had”.
NSW cricketers support homeless youth (Cricket NSW)