MS Dhoni handed out army-style caps to the Indian cricket team as they paid tribute to the jawans killed in the Pulwama terror attack. (Image credit: BCCI Twitter)
The Ranchi ODI between India and Australia is special because it could potentially be the last time MS Dhoni plays an international game in front of his home fans. However, before the start of the game, there was a very special tribute which was led by Dhoni himself and it resulted in the toss getting delayed by three to four minutes. Before the toss, Dhoni handed out army-style caps to each player in the Indian cricket team. The official Twitter handle of the BCCI said the team will be sporting camouflage caps as mark of tribute to the loss of lives in Pulwama terror attack and the armed forces. This is also to encourage countrymen to donate to the National Defence Fund for taking care of the education of the dependents of the martyrs.
India won the toss and chose to bowl against Australia and Kohli remarked that this was a special game for the entire team. “This is a special cap, it's a tribute to the Armed forces. We're all donating our match fees of this game to the Nation's Defence Fund. I urge everyone in the country to do the same, donate and stick to the families of our armed forces,” Kohli said.
The fact that Dhoni handed out the caps is even more special. In 2011, Dhoni was conferred with the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Indian Army. In 2015 and 2017, Dhoni was seen undergoing some training sessions in Kashmir with the Indian army officers.
The Pulwama terror attack resulted in massive outrage from Indian sportspersons, with some calling for the boycott of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 game against Pakistan in Manchester on June 16. Following the surgical strike by the Indian Air Force on terror camps in Pakistan’s Balakot, a lot of Indian cricketers and sportspersons tweeted ‘Jai Hind’ and praised the efforts of the army.
#TeamIndia will be sporting camouflage caps today as mark of tribute to the loss of lives in Pulwama terror attack and the armed forces— BCCI (@BCCI) March 8, 2019
And to encourage countrymen to donate to the National Defence Fund for taking care of the education of the dependents of the martyrs #JaiHind pic.twitter.com/fvFxHG20vi
Following the Pulwama terror attack, the Vidarbha Ranji team donated their entire match fee while sportspersons like Vijender Singh, Yogeshwar Dutt also pledged to donate their one-month salary to the fund set up by the home ministry. A win for India in the Ranchi ODI will give them their fourth consecutive series win at home against Australia.