The Indian Premier League is all set to kick-off on Saturday with defending champions Chennai Super Kings taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the season opener at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. However, for the first time in IPL history, there won’t be an opening ceremony as the Committee of Administrators (CoA) has decided to donate the allocated fund to the families of CRPF personnel, who lost their lives in the Pulwama terror attack. Instead of an extravagant opening ceremony, the crowd assembled at the venue will get a chance to see the performance by military bands.
The BCCI has also invited the representatives from the Indian Armed Forces to attend the match. “Yes, the CoA has sanctioned Rs 20 crore which will be contributed towards the Army Welfare Fund. On an opening day with both Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Virat Kohli being present, the first portion of the said amount will be handed over to one of the dignitaries,” a senior BCCI official privy was quoted by PTI as saying.
Earlier this week, IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab donated Rs 5 lakh each to the families of five CRPF personnel who were killed in the attack. A report in PTI stated that the cheques were given to the kin of jawans hailing from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. The cheques were distributed among family members of Jaimal Singh, Sukhjinder Singh, Maninder Singh, Kulwinder Singh, and Tilak Raj. Captain Ravichandran Ashwin was also present at the event along with CRPF DIG V K Kaundal.
Defending champions CSK has also decided to donate the proceeds generated from their first match. The cheque will be presented by CSK skipper MS Dhoni to the families. This development was confirmed by CSK director Rakesh Singh
The defending champions Chennai Super Kings will donate proceeds from their first Indian Premier League encounter this season to the families of those who died in the Pulwama terrorist attack. CSK skipper MS Dhoni will present the cheque to the families.
— Chennai Super Kings (@ChennaiIPL) 20 March 2019
Earlier during the limited-overs series against Australia, the Men In Blue wore camouflaged army caps to pay tribute to the jawans. The Pakistan Cricket Board had written to the ICC urging the cricket governing body to take action against the team for mixing politics with sport. However, ICC confirmed that BCCI had already asked for permission for the same.