Sam Robson may be feeling the heat as an England opener, but he has put his team-mates to shame with his artistic ability as they have thrown their support behind the United fundraising day during the fifth Test against India at The Oval.
Robson has contributed two of the 17 sketches, by and of England players and members of the Sky and BBC radio commentary teams, that will be auctioned to raise awareness of , and to raise funds for the cricket charities Chance to Shine, the Lord’s Taverners and the Professional Cricketers Association’s Benevolent Fund.
The Middlesex batsman has drawn Gary Ballance celebrating with his shirt off, and showing a much flatter six-pack than the one following the Trent Bridge Test, and has also clearly put some work into an impressively accurate sketch of his fellow Australian Shane Warne, with ball in one hand and cigarette in the other.
Joe Root has also been busy, drawing a full team picture and also a portrait of his Sheffield and Yorkshire mentor Michael Vaughan – although his sketch of David Lloyd looks more like Eric Morecambe with a large nose.
Lloyd has drawn his fellow Lancastrian Jimmy Anderson, who appears to be captured swearing on the cross during the last scene of Life of Brian, but his Sky colleagues Bob Willis and Nasser Hussain may have their sense of humour tested by the treatment they receive from Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, respectively.
Stokes has restored the wild hair with which Willis bowled a few decades ago but the zzzs coming out of his mouth do not suggest huge appreciation for his regular rants on Sky’s evening verdict shows, and Buttler has depicted Hussain as Mr Burns from The Simpsons.
Chris Jordan and Moeen Ali have drawn each other, as have Vaughan and Stuart Broad – although any hint of accuracy in Vaughan’s sketch has been removed by the broken nose Broad suffered when batting at Old Trafford.
All 17 pictures were put up for auction on Tuesday night with bidding closing next Tuesday at 9pm. England’s players will wear shirts with Cricket United on the collar at The Oval, and everyone present for the second day on Saturday is being urged to “turn The Oval blue”.