The Indian cricket team paid a tribute to the armed forces ahead of the third ODI against Australia at the JSCA Stadium in Ranchi. MS Dhoni distributed special caps to members of the the Indian team minutes before the toss on Friday.
MS Dhoni was conferred the rank of honorary Lieutenant Colonel by the Territorial Army several years ago. India’s tribute to the armed forces comes after the Pulwama terror attack where 40 CRPF soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack by the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad on February 14.
On February 26, Indian Air Force fighter jets hit JeM terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot.
India skipper Virat Kohli said the team had decided to contribute their match fees from the third ODI to the National Defence Fund. “We have decided to donate their match fee to the National Defence Fund. I would also urge people to do whatever they can to help in the education of the children of those who died in the Pulwama attack.”
Several Indian cricket players lauded IAF for the daring strike in Pakistan. On Friday, Indian players decided to wear special caps as a tribute to the Indian armed forces.
Meanwhile, Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar also distributed the special caps to the Indian commentators. Sanjay Manjrekar, Harsha Bhogle, Murali Kartik, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and Gavaskar were all seen wearing the caps.
“It’s fitting that the start of this annual event is being done at the home town of Lt. Col. Dhoni because it is not a superficial event but a sincere one. I for one will not be surprised if Dhoni ends up doing active service after he hangs his boots.
“To me, today’s symbolic act depicting solidarity with the forces is more powerful than the one involving monetary donation by the BCCI,” the a senior BCCI official told IANS.
Accroding to sources, Dhoni and Kohli worked closely with Nike in this whole initiative.
“They have been working closely with our apparel partner Nike for the past six months with inputs in the design and proposed implementation of the initiative,” an official said.
India lead the five-match ODI series 2-0 after winning the first two matches in Hyderabad and Nagpur. This is possibly Dhoni’s last match in his hometown Ranchi and India will look to clinch the series here.
India have had a sensational time in one-day cricket in 2019. They won a historic ODI series in Australia earlier in the year before crushing New Zealand 4-1 in the ODI series.
So far, India have won 8 out of 10 ODIs in 2019.