Defending champions Chennai Super Kings (CSK) will take on the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in a mouth-watering opening encounter of the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL). Two teams full of superstars and led by two of the biggest names in the game – MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli – is bound to set the bar high for the rest of the tournament. While CSK, led by their talisman Dhoni, will be eyeing an unprecedented fourth IPL title, Kohli’s RCB will be desperate to bounce back after the poor last season and start well.
The tournament-opener, nonetheless, will have another big attraction. Military bands will perform at the M. A. Chidambaram Stadium ahead of the big clash. This will be another act in the series of gestures by the cricketing fraternity in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack, where 44 CRPF personnel lost their lives. The BCCI has already confirmed that there would be no opening ceremony for this year’s competition. Instead, the budget allocated for the grand ceremony will be given to the family of the martyrs.
The BCCI has invited the representatives from the Indian Armed Forces to attend the match. Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) will also be in Chennai on March 23 for the game. According to reports in Sportstar, there are also efforts to ensure the participation of all eight captains.
“Members of the CoA and the players will be present during the programme,” an official said. However, he declined to speak in detail, saying, “The entire programme is an effort to pay our homage to the martyrs.”
Team India’s tribute to armed forces
Earlier this month, Team India had paid tribute to the armed forces with a beautiful gesture. The players had donned camouflage army caps during the third ODI against Australia. There was a controversy surrounding it when Pakistan Cricket Board wrote to the ICC to take action. However, the world cricketing body later confirmed that the BCCI had taken permission for the same.