Andrew Strauss is urging England and Australia fans to get involved in the UK's biggest cricket awareness day, on August 23, and help turn the Kia Oval into a sea of blue.
The Ashes-winning captain is backing the Cricket United charitable appeal by three of the UK's leading cricket charities - The Lord's Taverners, Chance to Shine and PCA Benevolent Fund - which aims to leave a lasting legacy from the 2013 Investec Ashes series.
The charities share a common purpose, to improve lives through cricket, and funds raised from day three of the fifth Investec Test will support a range of beneficiaries, from children starting out in the game to cricketers retiring from it.
Fans can show their support in a number of ways: by wearing something blue - a colour that unites the three charities - at the ground on the day, by making a donation, volunteering or helping to spread the word. An online Cricket United supporters' stadium - at www.cricketunited.co.uk - allows fans without tickets to the game to get behind the day by buying a 'virtual seat' and leaving a message of support.
Speaking at the launch of Cricket United, Strauss said: "I'm delighted that three charities close to my heart are uniting for this special awareness day. Cricket fans are fantastic at showing their support and love for the game and I'd urge them to do so again on 23rd August by helping to turn the Kia Oval into a sea of blue for Cricket United."
The charities are working in close partnership with ECB, Surrey and their key sponsors.
ECB chief executive David Collier said: "This is a terrific concept for three very good causes which we will be giving our full backing. We would urge as many cricket fans as possible to join in any way they can and help create a memorable - and colourful - day to remember at the Kia Oval on August 23rd."
Richard Gould, chief executive of Surrey, added: "Cricket United is a fantastic idea and Surrey CCC are both excited and honoured to have been chosen as its host venue."
A range of activity is already confirmed for the day to help raise awareness and funds for the appeal including:
- Sky blue 'four' and 'six' cards, thanks to Investec
- Children's cricket activity on the outfield during the interval
- Special Cricket United tie, produced by T.M.Lewin, will be on sale
- Limited edition Cricket United T-shirts available in return for donations
- Yorkshire Tea and Marstons are also supporting the day
- Raffle items will offered to hospitality boxes
Broadcasters Sky Sports, BBC Test Match Special and Channel 5 have all pledged their support for Cricket United day. England fan communities Twelfth Man and the Barmy Army are also looking to get involved on the day.
Funds raised could potentially have a major impact on the charities, according to their chief executives.
Paul Robin, chief executive of The Lord's Taverners, said: "The Lord's Taverners has always enjoyed a fantastic relationship with the rest of the cricket family, but this is the first time we've joined forces to raise awareness of - and funds to support - the vital work being done through this great game of ours. Cricket United will help each charity continue to improve lives."
Chance to Shine chief executive Wasim Khan added: "It's a great opportunity for the cricket community to unite for the greater good. Cricket United will give hundreds of schoolchildren cricket opportunities through Chance to Shine."
Chief executive of the Professional Cricketers' Association Angus Porter said: "The PCA Benevolent Fund exists to assist cricketers past and present, who have problems, or have fallen on hard times. We relish the opportunity to work with other cricketing charities to build awareness of the great work we all do."
Visit www.cricketunited.co.uk for more details and updates.