After the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) presented the amount reserved for the opening ceremony of the IPL to the CRPF and the Indian Armed Forces ahead of the kick-off of the 2019 season of the IPL, MS Dhoni presented a cheque of INR 2 Cr on behalf of his team, to a representative of CRPF.
Dhoni presented this cheque along with team director R Srinivasan after the armed forces were felicitated. This short felicitation ceremony was organised in the wake of the Pulwama attack that had claimed lives of 44 CRPF jawans back in February.
This is the first time in 11 seasons that IPL skipped the opening ceremony as it was instructed by the Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA). Instead of the ceremony, the Madras Regiment Band from Chennai began the proceedings at the Cheepauk, before the match. Following it, CoA and BCCI presented CRPF and the Armed Forces with the respective cheques.
Talking about it, CoA chairman, Vinod Rai said, “As a federation, we felt it was best not to hold a regular IPL opening ceremony. Instead, we decided to contribute the amount towards a cause that is so important and close to everyone’s heart.”
The estimated budget of the opening ceremony is INR 20 Crores and the CoA administering BCCI has unanimously decided to donate INR 11 Crores to Indian Army, 7 Crores to CRPF and 1 Cr each to the Indian Navy and the Indian AirForce.
“This comes as a welcome move and as a mark of respect to the ones who lost their lives in the terror attack. The BCCI has always been sensitive towards issues of national interest and will continue to make contributions whenever the need arises,” said Diana Edulji, member of CoA.
At the felicitation ceremony, Sanjay Manjrekar said, “BCCI empathises with those affected by the Pulwama attack and with the families of those martyred during the course of their duties. We respect and admire our armed forces and the CRPF.”