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Ian Chappell asks Australians to ‘go into bat’ for Afghanistan

Former Australian cricket captain Ian Chappell is leading a high profile team of sporting greats, current athletes, and an iconic Australian actor as they ‘go into bat’ for Afghanistan and rally everyday Australians to do the same.

The Batting for Afghanistan appeal officially starts today and invites Australians to buy a virtual cricket bat and bid for a unique sporting item/experience as a way of supporting the UN Refugee Agency’s work in the troubled country.

Ian’s team of high-profile supporters include former international cricketers Shane Warne, Ian Healy, Rodney Marsh, Dennis Lillee, Greg Chappell, Trevor Chappell, Mike Gatting, Viv Richards, Lisa Sthalekar and Mel Jones. It also includes current players David Warner and Rashid Khan, Matildas captain Sam Kerr, NRL great Sonny Bill Williams, Tokyo gold-medal rowers the Women’s Four team, wheelchair ironman John Maclean, seven times major singles champion John Newcombe, the 2021 NRL grand finalists, and Logie Hall of Fame actor Bryan Brown.

“Sport has the power to inspire and unite people from diverse backgrounds and bring hope. I am calling on my friends and colleagues in the sporting world to join with other Australians in supporting this campaign, to offer Afghans the hope they need right now,” Ian said.

For more than two decades Ian has supported UNHCR’s humanitarian work globally as Australia for UNHCR’s first Special Representative. In 2002 he helped launch Australia for UNCHR’s first Afghanistan appeal and has been championing refugee rights ever since.

“Ian is again demonstrating his longstanding commitment and support for forcibly displaced people by spearheading our Batting for Afghanistan appeal,” says Naomi Steer, Australia for UNHCR National Director.

“More than 3.5 million Afghans are displaced internally with a staggering 665,000 – mostly women and children – having fled their homes this year. They are now facing a terrible winter of conflict, bitter cold, and deadly COVID-19. Through all this turmoil UNHCR has stayed on the ground supporting Afghans. But the needs are huge and I am very grateful to Ian in galvanising the cricketing and sporting community behind this campaign.”

In addition to buying a $25 virtual cricket bat and leaving a message of support for the Afghan people on a virtual cricket pitch, the campaign offers a number of once-in-a-lifetime sporting items and experiences to bid on via an online auction that will run from November 17 – December 1. These include:

  •  Lunch with Ian Chappell, John Newcombe and Bryan Brown at an iconic Sydney restaurant
  •  A Zoom meeting with Shane Warne, Ian Healy and Mike Gatting to discuss the iconic ‘ball of the century’
  •  A Zoom meeting with World Cup captains Viv Richards & Ian Chappell
  •  A signed Australian women’s cricket team jersey and Zoom chat with Lisa Sthalekar and Mel Jones
  •  A Zoom meeting with dynamic duo Dennis Lillee & Rod Marsh
  •  A bat signed by David Warner
  •  Signed jerseys from Sam Kerr, Sonny Bill, Rashid Khan, the Penrith Panthers & South Sydney Rabbitohs “I’m calling on all sports fans in Australia to go into bat for Afghanistan and its people,” Ian says. “Get online now, buy a virtual bat, and register for the online auction. Together we’ll ensure this fundraiser is a winner.”

To buy a bat, or register to bid online, go to

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