Jay Sean has decided to swap his microphone with a cricket bat for charity.
The desi r’n’b singer spent 10 days in the villages of South India in March as the only Indian member of a British celebrity team brought together to raise money for children living in Britain and India.
The sporty side of the singer/songwriter was brought out by Sport Relief’s All Out For India programme, aimed at raising millions for projects in India including shelters for tsunami-hit orphans.
On his return, Jay told Eastern Eye about his slightly rubbish cricket skills: “My dad and grandad both played cricket but it seems to have skipped a generation. I did play in school but haven’t played in about nine years. But I am into sports and keeping fit and I felt this was a great opportunity to make a difference and have some fun at the same time.”
His Red Socks team, captained by former England cricketer Phil Tuffnel, played two matches against local children orphaned by the 2004 tsunami and a grand finale in Mumbai against a Bollywood team including actors Suneil Shetty and Ritesh Deshmukh.
Jay said: “We visited areas affected by the tsunami and children orphaned in the disaster. It is not like they never knew their Mum and Dad but were old enough to remember and that was doubly sad. The match was a really exciting day for them and it was great to see where the money from Sport Relief was going.”
Besides playing the game, the singer joined his teammates in various other activities like waking up at the crack of dawn to catch fish with the local fishermen and visit the rubbish dumps where a lot of the orphans live.
He added: “I am very proud of being an Indian. But this is like seeing a whole other side to India that shocked and despaired me. We did not stay in five-star hotels or the like but we truly experienced the hard core realities of the country.”
The singer, whose next single Push It Up is all set to hit the charts, now feels committed to his new cause and plans to get his friends involved for the charity’s upcoming sponsored run.
His trip to India has been caught on camera for BBC1 as a two-part documentary to be screened at 8pm on May 31 and June 7.