Meet the businessman Steve Waugh

Published: Thursday, February 10, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Kolkata:Mixing commerce with philanthropy, former Australian skipper Steve Waugh is now on the look out for a business partner from India in between his efforts to relieve the sufferings of the thousands of tsunami victims in the Andamans.

Waugh, on a tour of the country for the last few days, has already met the Chief Ministers of Maharastra and Karnataka to explore business opportunities before coming to Kolkata, where he is held in high esteem not only as a cricketer but also as one of the sponsors of a home for children of leprosy sufferers 'Udayan'.

"I've been looking at business opportunities around India. I also hope to meet the corporate leaders and government officials in Kolkata," Waugh told reporters here today.

Waugh said he was here as a representative of a leading Australian bank which had assets of 85 billion dollars, and was trying to identify business partners for his personal commercial venture in which Kolkata would be an important cog.

"I have had a 20 year stint with international cricket. I also hope to return to the game some time later as a commentator or coach. But now it is time for business."

"Kolkata is my second home. With every visit I tend to fall more in love with the city. I won the world cup in 1987 here. I also scored a memorable hundred during the my last Test appearence here in 2001," he said.

"I have special feelings for Udayan. I feel if I can make some difference to the lives of the little needy people at Udayan, that will be my greatest achievent," said Waugh, who played a prime role in setting up the girls wing of the Home.

The cricketing legend said he was looking for a piece of land in or around the city to set up some commercial venture, but did not go into specifics.

"I think the opportunities in Kolkata have increased during the last six months. Anyone coming to the city from the Airport can see with his own eyes the new infrastructure which is coming up," he added.

After his work with the kids of Udayan, Waugh was now working on setting up a school for visually impaired girls here in collaboration with the Chiristian Blind Mission and the Orthodox Church.

"I am also in the process of setting up the Steve Waugh Foundation. We're hoping to get the Foundation up and running shortly, trying to rope in big corporates. I want to make a difference to the lives of the people. I don't want to look glossy," he said.

In his bid to come to the aid of the thousands of tsunami victims, Waugh has joined hands with a number of celebrities in the city to raise funds through a charity auction of his cricket gear tonight.

Among the items which would come under the hammer is a designer bat made by some members of Australia's aboriginal tribe Gunya.

"It is from my personal collection, and is uniqueness lies in its design, which they have made for me. This is also the first ever bat made by them," Waugh disclosed.

Waugh is also scheduled to deliver a special lecture on leadership titled 'From the Cricket Pitch to Corporate Boardroom' this evening.

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