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Strauss confident 'Red for Ruth' Test can work without spectators

Former England captain Andrew Strauss and his sons dressed in red to show support for the Ruth Strauss Foundation at Lord's in 2019
Former England captain Andrew Strauss and his sons dressed in red to show support for the Ruth Strauss Foundation at Lord's in 2019 Adrian DENNIS AFP/File
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Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP)

Andrew Strauss believes this year's #RedForRuth initiative can succeed even though there will be no fans in the ground for the deciding Test between England and the West Indies at Old Trafford starting on Friday.

After his wife Ruth died from a rare form of lung cancer affecting non-smokers in 2018, former England captain Strauss established a charity to conduct research into this type of the disease and to assist families facing the death of a parent.

Last year, the inaugural campaign in support of the Ruth Strauss Foundation saw a capacity crowd of 28,500 turn Lord's red during an Ashes Test, with more than £550,000 ($701,000) raised by fans inside and far beyond the 'Home of Cricket'.

But Strauss accepted the coronavirus pandemic left the charity facing particular challenges.

"It goes without saying it's going to be different this year, the world is in a different place and it's obviously not going to feel quite the same as it did last year but it will hopefully be just as impactful," said Strauss.

"I personally felt last year that the combination of the Red for Ruth day and some really good, quality cricket at the same time was a really fantastic combination," added Strauss, who was assisted by sons Sam and Luca during an emotional event at Lord's.

"Hopefully, we can do something similar this time around. I think we'll try to be as creative as we can be.

"We're relatively limited in what we can do given everything that's going on with the bio-secure bubble."

Once again players will wear red caps, with Strauss, who will be a member of the Sky television commentary team at Old Trafford, promising to give the red suit he sported at Lord's a year ago another airing.

- 'More need than ever' -

Meanwhile donations, an online auction and merchandise profits will all help raise money.

Strauss said he understood why charities were losing out to virus-related causes amid the pandemic, but added he hoped this year's event would still help the foundation provide funds for the training of health care professionals in the skills needed to support families facing the imminent loss of a parent.

"We've had three or four events either cancelled or postponed, most of the events that you do require people to be together in a room and so that's not possible now and probably won't be for a while either," explained Strauss.

"What a lot of charities are finding is a reduction in donations and probably more need than ever for the services they offer.

"We estimate it's going to cost about £200 to put someone through the Ruth Strauss Foundation training programme so the more of those £200 we can raise, the more we can help people to give the support that other people will need."

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