The SCG Pink Test is now part of Australia’s summer of cricket, and Glenn McGrath is eyeing a big fundraising goal well in excess of $1 million for this week’s 10th edition.
Australia and England will complete the Ashes series starting on Thursday at the SCG, with a sea of pink in the stands and on the ground for day three, known as Jane McGrath Day.
To mark the 10th Pink Test, the Australian team donned pink caps at the SCG on Tuesday alongside McGrath, who had plenty to say about the most important week of the year for the McGrath Foundation.
The foundation was started in 2005, following his first wife Jane’s initial diagnosis with breast and bone cancer. She went into remission, but the cancer returned and she died in 2008, aged 42.
The foundation works to increase education and awareness of breast cancer, and to provide breast cancer support nurses around Australia to assist and comfort those dealing with the disease.
“I think back to the first [Pink Test in 2009], to think we’d still be here after 10 years is absolutely incredible, the support we’ve received has been amazing,” McGrath said.
“Each year we like to set ourselves a bit of a goal as to what we’d like to achieve out of the Sydney Test.
“This year our goal is to raise $1.3 million, which is to put on 10 full-time nurses over a 12-month period. Those nurses would support 1,000 individuals and families going through breast cancer.
“So we’ve set ourselves a fairly lofty goal, but as I say the support we get each year just keeps getting better and better.”
Because the first three days of the Sydney Test are sold out, the McGrath Foundation will be running Pink Picnics on day three at the Sydney Football Stadium, where adults and families can buy tickets to watch the cricket on a big screen, with a pink picnic rug and picnic hamper provided and live entertainment.
The contest between Australia and England on the ground will be intense, but the two country’s fans will be united in support of the pink Test.
“Four years ago, the Barmy Army really got behind this and embraced the pink, I think they’re doing something very similar this year,” McGrath said.
McGrath said he hoped his own family was a symbol of hope for cancer patients and their families.
“It’s a special day, it’s a positive day, my family come down from the bush as well,” he said.
“I think it’s a great legacy — especially for James and Holly, my two elder children, with what their mum’s created. They always look forward to it … they’ve still got pictures of their mum by their bed, and talk about Jane quite a bit.
“Sarah (McGrath’s second wife) has been brilliant in that respect, accepting that and coming in and taking over that role.
“If Jane was looking down, she’d be really proud of what the foundation is achieving, very proud of the Sydney Test, but equally proud of her family and how they’re going.
“The awareness that it’s created is what it’s about. It’s about early detection, it’s about saving lives, and also the awareness of what the McGrath Foundation does and the support role our nurses play.
“We’ve got 119 nurses and they’ve supported more than 60,000 individuals and families going through breast cancer. Those numbers just blow me away.”
McGrath realistic about Starc’s SCG chances
When talk finally turned to the cricket, the former Australian paceman was asked about Mitchell Starc and whether he should be risked in Sydney.
“You’d love Mitchell Starc to be playing, there’s no doubt about that, someone bowling at that pace, the attacking line, the lengths that he bowls and swings the ball, you want him playing every game possible, especially at his home ground here,” McGrath said.
“But with the big tour of South Africa coming up, you’ve got to weigh up — if he’s 100 per cent fit, I’d play him. If he’s not quite there, unfortunately you might have to let him have a rest and have him ready for South Africa.”
McGrath said speaking to some of the players there was a bit of grass on the wicket and an expectation some might be taken off before day one on Thursday.
“I think it will be a good cricket wicket, I always enjoyed bowling out there, there was a bit of seam movement early and Warnie would always say ‘if it seamed, it spun’,” he said.
“It’s probably not quite the same spinning wicket it used to be, but I think it will still take a little bit of turn.
“Out here I’m sure there’ll be a result, and as I say, I think it will be 4-0.”