Over my numerous visits to India, I have become connected to its friendly warm hospitable people with their welcoming smiles, all of whom share a love for cricket that borders on an obsession and a religion. Cricket galvanises and binds the population like nothing else.
Whilst the National team’s success can set India’s mood, every time I witnessed the joy of people playing ‘gully’, club and social cricket, or the spectators and fans who are so connected to it, I have truly sensed a genuine love for the game. Simply a pure, raw unfiltered connection to the sport, set in diverse locations providing a backdrop to their own stories.
This is where the idea of The Spirit of Cricket came from, my long held and passionate desire to get out amongst it, free to capture this emotion and splendour through my eyes, and the lens of my camera.
The Spirit of Cricket photo book been brought to life with the generous support of Canon Australia. Canon Australia and Steve have worked together for a number of years with Canon proudly supporting Steve to pursue his passion for photography, visual storytelling, and philanthropy.
On The Spirit of Cricket project, Canon provided Steve with the latest cutting-edge professional camera kit to take with him to India. The kit included: Canon EOS- 1D X Mark II, Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM, and Canon EF 400mm f2.8L IS USM.
About the gear:
- Canon EOS- 1D X Mark II: From Canon’s Professional imaging stables, the EOS-1D X Mark II represents the highest calibre of image capture and ideal for outdoor shoots. Capable of astoundingly fast speed shooting, precision focusing, and featuring durable weather proofing; this camera was the ideal companion for Steve to take from the dessert to the city streets, into the mountains and onto any cricket pitch in India with the confidence that it would never miss a beat.
- Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L USM II: This is a versatile and impressively sharp standard zoom lens that performs well in low light throughout its zoom range. Wherever Steve was, he could always focus quickly, near-silently and with precision thanks to the ring-type ultrasonic autofocus motor of this lens.
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM: One of the most versatile lenses available, Steve could shoot everything from portraits to the fast action of sport to landscapes and wildlife with this professional telephoto zoom lens.
- Canon EF 400mm f2.8L IS USM: This super-telephoto prime lens is designed for sports and wildlife photography and is paramount for any professional telephoto photographer.
CRICKET, PHILANTHROPY AND MENTORING
Steve Waugh was a right-handed batsman, he was also a medium-pace bowler. As Australian captain from 1997 to 2004, he led Australia to fifteen of their record sixteen consecutive Test wins, and to victory in the 1999 Cricket World Cup. Waugh is considered the most successful Test captain in cricket history, with 41 matches won and only 9 matches lost with a winning ratio of 72%. He was named Australian of the Year in 2004 for his philanthropic work, and inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame in front of his home fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground in January 2010. In addition to this, Steve has been able to assist in mentoring the Australian Olympic Team, with Football Australia and with the Cricket Australia Test Team.
Over the years, Waugh has also shown that he believes in using sport as a means to help those less fortunate in life by using his profile to raise awareness, encourage fundraising and involve volunteers to support needy causes.
In India since 1998, he has supported Udayan rehabilitation home for children of leprosy sufferers and in particular raising funds for Nivedita Bhavan, the girls’ wing of the facility. He is also a member of the prestigious Laureus Worlds Sports Academy whose primary role is to use the power of sport to transform the lives of young people around the world by volunteering their time to support the vital work of the “Sport For Good Foundation” which has over 200 projects in over 40 countries.
In Australia, Steve and his wife Lynette established the Steve Waugh Foundation over 15 years ago to support children and their families who are suffering from rare diseases. These children are often referred to as the ‘orphans of the health system’, and lacking financial support, networks and in some cases diagnosis.
The Foundation believes no-one should stand alone and everybody needs a team to support them. The Foundation provides them with somewhere to turn and allows the children to grow through the support network put in place and to thrive and survive.