Sailor goes into bat for charity

FORMER St George Illawarra winger Wendell Sailor is relishing the chance to show off his cricketing skills and take on former teammates at today's Twenty20 Stumping Serious Diseases charity match at the University of Wollongong.

Sailor will captain a Town XI when they face the Gown XI in a curtain-raiser to the main event that will see Adam Gilchrist lead a UOW XI against a Bradman World XI captained by West Indian legend Sir Vivian Richards.

The former Wallaby has his eye on one player in particular, Dragons five-eighth Jamie Soward, who he feels is a dark horse with the bat.

"I'm excited to bowl to Jamie Soward. I bowled against him when he was at the Roosters and I was impressed so I'm itching to get another crack at him,'' Sailor said. ''I won't try to give him a bit of chin music, or will I? I tried to put a couple of short ones in at him last time I bowled to him but he saw me off, so I'm keen to go again."

Sailor will be well supported by teammates Quade Cooper, James O'Connor, Glen Saville and Brett Morris to name a few. While their opponents, led by Dragons second-rower Ben Creagh, will look to the likes of Soward, Dan Hunt and Mat Campbell for support.

Sailor, a self-proclaimed all-rounder, is keen to impress with the willow as well as the ball and with childhood hero Sir Vivian Richards looking on, Sailor will aim to emulate the big-hitting West Indian by putting a couple into the stands. "You pick a couple of players that you want to be like when you are growing up. I always wanted to be like Viv Richards,'' he said. ''His swagger, the way he carried himself, his controlled aggression. That generation of West Indian players inspired me so hopefully I can put on a show.

"I'll take it pretty serious, I want to make some runs and I definitely want to impress the crowd. It's fun but serious.

"I don't see anyone that will threaten me from the Gown XI. I'll back myself against anyone they throw at me.'' While there will no doubt be an air of competitiveness on the pitch, Sailor is quick to put the match in perspective.

"I love playing cricket, I'm very competitive but at the same time it's the cause not the competition that the day is about,'' he said.

"For me, what was the most rewarding part is raising money for medical research. Everyone has lost friends to cancer, suicide and many other health-related issues, so it's a day that strikes a chord with everyone. To give back and have fun with the community is a great way to raise awareness and money."

"To see Viv [Richards] and [Brian] Lara out there in the middle together, that'll be something, not just for me, but for the kids and cricket fans of that generation. But the crowd better watch out if they get hold of a few."

This will be the fourth year UOW will hold the event.

This story Sailor goes into bat for charity first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.