PHIL Mustard plans to ride 440 miles this autumn to raise money for fellow professional cricketers, writes STUART RAYNER.
The Big Bike Ride will take 27 cricketers from Durham’s Chester-le-Street home to Lord’s via Headingley, Old Trafford and Trent Bridge.
The aim is to raise ï¿½250,000 for the PCA Benevolent Fund and the Tom Maynard Trust. Durham wicketkeeper Mustard hopes to contribute ï¿½1,500 from sponsors.
“It’s all for a good cause,” says Mustard. “The PCA’s been good to a lot of cricketers. I think it all started when (Durham coach) Geoff Cook got involved in the PCA, which is the player’s union. They do a good job of putting some money away from sponsorship opportunities to look after players when they’ve finished with cricket. A lot have to finish early because of injury.”
The death of Surrey player Tom Maynard, who was suffering from drug and alcohol problems, last summer highlighted the important role the PCA has to play.
As Mustard says: “They spend a lot of money and time warning cricketers about drugs, alcohol, gambling and all the addictive things a huge percentage of sportsmen come across.
“I met Tom two years prior to his death and we got on really well. I thought the PCA had the right things in place to deal with those issues, but Tom’s death showed there’s still work to be done.”
Mustard has become a cycling enthusiast in recent years. “I did a bike ride last year for (then-Surrey director of cricket) Chris Adams and his brother,” he says. “It was a 22-day bike ride, but I only did the first leg, from the Emirates ICG to Headingley.
“I bought myself a mountain bike a couple of years ago and I find it really relaxing. It could help people with off-the-field problems to relax.
“I’ve had a couple of practice rides from my home in Newcastle to Chester-le-Street and I’m really looking forward to taking part in this event.
“The ride ends with the Ashes lunch at Lord’s on October 23, which the England squad will be at before heading to Australia for the next series.
“It should be a great end to a really good six days – although I don’t know how I’m going to get my bike home because I don’t fancy cycling back!”
You can sponsor Phil at http://bit.ly/15tOD6m