England v South Africa cricket: why are England cricketers wearing red - what is Red for Ruth Day at Lord’s?

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England will wear red as part of the Red for Ruth Lord’s Test match tradition when they take on South Africa this week

England’s red-ball squad returns this week for another challenging Test series against South Africa and Ben Stokes will hope the winning momentum that was exhibited earlier this summer will continue.

The ‘new-era’ of England cricket could not have had a better start with Stokes’ squad triumphantly and convincingly beating both New Zealand and India with record run-chases that only a few months go might have seemed inconceivable.

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This summer has been jam-packed with Test series, ODI series, T20 series and the explosive The Hundred tournament and while fans prepare for yet more Test matches in the coming weeks, England’s cricketers will highlight a new focus in the upcoming Test fixture.

Stokes and the rest of his squad will wear red hats and have red across their whites as they celebrate and promote Red for Ruth day in memory of Ruth Strauss and in the hope of raising money for the Ruth Strauss Foundation.

So who was Ruth Strauss and what is her foundation?

Who was Ruth Strauss?

Ruth Strauss, formerly McDonald, was the wife of the former England batter and captain Sir Andrew Strauss. The pair met during Strauss’ early cricket career out in Australia and were married in 2003.

Andrew Strauss first played for England, making his Test debut in 2004 against New Zealand, and began captaining the squad in 2009 after a rift between the then captain Kevin Pietersen and head coach Peter Moores became public.

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Strauss’s retirement from cricket came after 100 Test appearances in 2012 and his teammates bought him 100 bottles of wine.

Ruth and Andrew Strauss celebrate Ashes victory in 2009Ruth and Andrew Strauss celebrate Ashes victory in 2009
Ruth and Andrew Strauss celebrate Ashes victory in 2009 | Getty Images

Strauss and his wife, Ruth, had two children together, Sam and Luca. Ruth died in 2018 with a rare form of non-smoking lung cancer at the age of 46.

Since her death, Strauss (who has taken on several roles within the ECB management) began the Ruth Strauss Foundation in a bid to raise money for families who have suffered loss due to non-smoking lung cancers and to drive the need for more research into the illness.

What is Red for Ruth Day?

After Ruth’s death, Strauss turned to Australian cricket hero Glenn McGrath who had lost his wife, Jane, due to breast cancer.

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Following Jane’s death, McGrath set up the McGrath Foundation to fight breast cancer and secured the Sydney Test as a partner event.

Jane McGrath Day is Day 3 of a named Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground with the stumps and players caps coloured pink, while fan clothes are also encouraged to wear pink clothing.

Having played one Pink Test himself, Strauss then secured Day 2 of the Lord’s Test as a similar partner event ahead of the 2019 Ashes.

In the UK, more than 23,600 parents with dependant children die each year, leaving over 40,000 bereaved children.

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Former England cricket Ian Bell competes in Ruth Strauss Foundation mile during Vitality Westminster Mile in May 2022Former England cricket Ian Bell competes in Ruth Strauss Foundation mile during Vitality Westminster Mile in May 2022
Former England cricket Ian Bell competes in Ruth Strauss Foundation mile during Vitality Westminster Mile in May 2022 | Getty Images

This Test Day looks to help support those grieving families as well as raising awareness of the need for more research. Proceeds for the annual auction will help the Ruth Strauss Foundation and last year’s auction prizes included a VIP visit to see the Red Arrows as well as a nine-night trip to Barbados with the Barmy Army.

At last year’s Red for Ruth Test between England and India, £1,204,447 was raised which exceeded the amount accumulated in both 2019 and 2020.

When is Red for Ruth day?

Red for Ruth Day is on Thursday 18 August 2022 at Lord’s Cricket Ground, the second day of the England v South Africa first Test match.

The match begins at 11am BST and is available to watch on Sky Sports and NowTV.

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What is worn on Red for Ruth day?

England players will wear red caps with the stumps also turning red. Spectators are encouraged to wear red themselves in a bid to support the foundation.

Speaking after last year’s success, Strauss said: “In addition to the incredible funds raised, Red for Ruth is also about raising awareness, breaking taboos and, in Ruth’s words, helping families ‘do death well’.

“To know that because of the wonderful support we’ve had, more families are not facing gried alone and many more up and down the country will be supported over the coming months is exactly what Ruth wanted.”

To find out more on Red for Ruth and how to donate, visit the Ruth Strauss Foundation website.

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