The cricket community is rallying around Greg Chappell after it was revealed that the former Test captain is in financial distress following a business failure.
Chappell, 75, was never granted a benefit year at the end of his illustrious career, but was the subject of a testimonial lunch at the MCG last week and a GoFundMe has been set up to help him in his retirement after he told Newscorp of his financial plight.
Eddie McGuire hosted the event in Melbourne and Chappell’s two brothers, Ian and Trevor, were in attendance alongside a litany of cricketing greats.
Close to $100,000 have been raised so far, with some notable names in the public list of donations, including ex-Wallaby turned journalist Peter FitzSimons, former NSW Premier and now cricket administrator Mike Baird and a whopping $25,000 from Cricket ACT chair Greg Boorer.
“I’m not on the bones of my arse,” said Greg to Newscorp on his issues.
“I certainly don’t want it to sound like we’re in desperate straits, because we’re not – but we’re not living in luxury either.
“I think most people assume that because we played cricket that we are all living in the lap of luxury. While I’m certainly not crying poor, we’re not reaping in the benefits that today’s players are.
Speaking to Nine papers, he added: “Unfortunately I had a business setback a few years ago. I don’t need to go into details about it, but the opportunity cost went with that situation, the years of sorting out the finances just meant that not only did I not have much coming in, but there was nothing to invest.
“I really don’t enjoy the public side of it. It was my situation, I was dealing with it, it wasn’t something that I wanted to make a big deal about. The boys wanted to do something, and it just seemed like a nice, quiet way of doing it. Very hard to keep anything quiet.”
News of his plight has reached the very top of the modern game, with current Test captain Pat Cummins sending support from the World Cup in India.
“I heard one of the boys talking about that the other day,” he told a media conference ahead of Australia’s clash with New Zealand.
“He is a legend of the game. Not only just as a player, he’s been huge. Particularly our playing group, he’s had a big influence on a lot of us coming through, did the under-19s tour where he was there, he did a lot of mentoring and spent a lot of time up at the NCC (National Cricket Centre) where he was involved.
“(I’ve) got huge admiration for him, obviously, huge figure in Australian cricket, so wish him all the best.”
Chappell has his own foundation, which raises money for homelessness causes, but has never taken a cent from it and reinvests income generated directly back into the community.
“It is high time that Australian cricket and current Australian cricketers considered and worked towards assisting those who played for their country but were not privileged to be financially as secure as themselves,” said Chappell Foundation chair Darshak Mehta.
“They have, after all, benefited from the great goodwill and reputation Australian cricket as a brand has built up, thanks to their committed predecessors.
“Greg Chappell has selflessly given his time for decades to numerous altruistic causes. Alleviating youth homelessness is his passion and this year alone, The Chappell Foundation has distributed over $1m to keep kids off the streets.
“It’s great to see Greg’s friends, who are wonderful, generous people, rally around him and do something like this. I have nothing but admiration for them. Greg works tirelessly for charity and has been helping other people all his life. He has never taken anything in return. At The Chappell Foundation we are all volunteers.”