BH SPECIAL, Kolkata: Two days ago, Bangladesh’s cricketers announced that they had decided to donate half their monthly salaries to the government to fight the COVID-19 crisis. According to a report in Dhaka Tribune, 27 cricketers, including 17 players contracted with Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) made the donation collectively worth around 2.5mn Bangladeshi Taka.
The news hit social media almost instantly and the contributions and effort of the Bangladeshi players was lauded. At the same time India’s Prime Minister announced a total lockdown of the country for 21 days as its effort to fight coronavirus which has infected 724 people in India and killed 17.
Although, the short notice-period (around 4 hours) given by Modi for the total lockdown in the country to be effected was in general accepted by majority of India’s populace barring a few habitual critics, the cricketing fraternity till yesterday just offered lip service.
One of India’s richest cricket players Virat Kohli and his actress-cum-entrepreneur wife Anuska Sharma were among the first to laud Modi’s initiative on social media. Through Twitter, skipper Kohli requested fellow countrymen to “stay at home” for the next 21 days as “social distancing is the only cure” available with us which can stop Covid-19 from spreading.
Interestingly, non of the players came forward to help out at a time where coronavirus pandemic was hitting all sectors hard.
Indian fans also noted the shortcomings of the rich cricketing fraternity and became more active on social media with trolls. Even the top players were not spared in this tirade as it was expected that they would come forward with doable ideas — be it donations or assisting the healthcare systems with stuff that they need badly like face masks, medicines or ventilators.
So, it took 48-hours for someone from the India’s publicity-hungry cricketing fraternity to sit up and take note.
Sachin Tendulkar on Friday donated Rs 50 lakh to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Tendulkar’s donation is by far, the biggest contribution among India’s leading sportspersons. “Sachin Tendulkar decided to contribute Rs 25 lakh each to Prime Minister’s Relief Fund and Chief Minister’s Relief Fund in his bid to join the fight against COVID-19. It was his decision that he wanted to contribute to both funds,” a source said.
Among other prominent cricketers,Irfan and Yusuf Pathan brothers donated 4,000 face masks to Baroda police and health department. The contribution amount from Mahendra Singh Dhoni was rather surprising. Dhoni, through a Pune based NGO, made a contribution of just Rs 1 lakh.
These are testing times and we need to wake up to the seriousness of this situation. Please let us all follow what’s been told to us and stand united please. It’s a plea to everyone 🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/75dDlzT6tX
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) March 25, 2020
At the time of writing, Virat Kohli is yet to open his account as far as donations in this respect. Kohli earned a whopping 252.72 crores last year. Kohli’s overall net-worth is approximately Rs 900cr and the income that he earns mainly comes from brand endorsements, advertisements and start-ups besides match fees.