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All for good

IPL cricketers help charitable causes by donating autographed merchandise for sale, online.

india Updated: Mar 28, 2010 14:05 IST
Collin Rodrigues

Original autographed merchandise, which is a huge business internationally is picking up in India. Almost all of it is sold on ebay.in, and most of it is cricketing items since the game is religion in the country. IPL which is the flavour of the season has taken the lead so far. Sri Lankan cricketer Mahela Jaywardene who plays for the Kings XI Punjab, runs a charity in his home country.

He says, “The charity’s objectives are tightly focused on grassroots cricket development, with the aim of helping poor schools with kit bags and coconut matting. Last month, we helped two schools in Trincomalee district which had previously been unable to run cricket teams. For a spend of approximately $ 3,000 (Rs 135,654), we were able to give around 3,000 kids access to proper cricket for the first time. A small amount of money goes a long way at the grassroots.” Mahela’s autographed Punjab Kings XI jersey was recently sold for Rs 5,001. A cricket bat signed by the entire Sri Lankan test team, and a Chennai Super Kings jersey signed by Mahendra Singh Dhoni also sold for the same amount, recently.

A few days back, the charity A Lot of Dreams benefited from the auctioning of nine autographed items from IPL team players. They included a bat autographed by the whole Punjab Kings XI team for Rs 2,900, jersey autographed by the whole Rajasthan Royals team for Rs 3,150, a bat autographed by Delhi Daredevils players for Rs 6,701, a Anil Kumble autographed jersey of the Royal Challegers Bangalore for Rs 5,900, Chennai Super Kings bat autographed by the whole team for 6,501, Mumbai Indians autographed jersey and bat for Rs 3,150 and Rs 13,301, and Sachin Tendulkar’s signed Mumbai Indians jersey for Rs 7,200.

Most of the items are sold for smaller sums compared to the weight that these stars carry. Adds Mahela, “We are exploring this platform for the first time and at this stage, there aren’t any specific expectations. The great advantage of an online auction is the ability to reach out to buyers around the world at zero cost.

Ebay waives its fees for charity partners. In fact, two of our memorabilia items were bought by an Australian fan. Due to the good response, ebay has put in more items for sale, recently, though the proceeds are exclusively for the Mahela Jayawardena Foundation. “Currently, we have Kings XI Punjab jersey autographed by the team, a Kings XI Punjab jersey autographed by Yuvraj Singh and a Chennai Super Kings jersey autographed by Suresh Raina. We are hopeful that this online auction will raise much-needed funds to help our cause and we are grateful to all those who participate,” sums up Mahela.

The website also plans to auction more autographed memorabilia. Says Deepa Thomas, senior manager, pop culture, ebay.in, “I’m not in a position to inform you about the kind of autographed items that will go on sale. But there will be more such memorabilia in the coming days.”