MUMBAI: Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar on Friday donated Rs 5 million towards relief efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far claimed 17 Indian lives and wreaked havoc globally.
Tendulkar's donation is so far the biggest contribution among India's leading sportspersons, some of whom have pledged their salaries while a few others have donated medical equipment to fight the dreaded outbreak, which has caused more than 24,000 deaths globally.
"Sachin Tendulkar decided to contribute Rs 25 lakh (Rs2.5 million) 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 privy to the development, told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
Tendulkar has been associated with a lot of charity work and there has been umpteen times, he has taken up social causes, helped people, which has never been brought to public notice.
As for the other two members of the "Big 3" club of Indian sports in terms of wealth, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, through a Pune-based NGO, reportedly made a "princely" contribution of Rs 100,000. Or did he? Dhoni's wife Sakshi Singh Rawat posted the following on her Twitter handle for the less than positive response from Twitterati to the said donation: "I request all media houses to stop carrying out false news at sensitive times like these ! Shame on You ! I wonder where responsible journalism has disappeared !"
Mrs Rawat's reaction was apparently in response to reports claiming that Dhoni donated Rs 100,000 via crowdfunding website Ketto to the Mukul Madhav Foundation, a public charitable trust in Pune. She had shared details of the campaign on Instagram, urging others to donate as well. The Rs 100,000 allegedly donated by Dhoni was part of a Rs 1.25 million target set by the trust.
As for Virat Kohli, the country's richest sports peronality by a very, very long mile, had a BIG ZERO next to his name in terms of financial contributions at the time this report was filed.
In a related development, former India captain and current Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly, has associated his name with Bhadreswar Rice Mill, owners of the Lal Baba Rice brand, in pledging to distribute "free rice worth Rs 50 lacs (Rs 5 million) to the needy people who have been put in government schools for safety and security".
Cricket Association of Bengal president Avishek Dalmiya also pitched in, donating Rs 500,000 to the state government's Emergency Relief Fund.
Saurashtra Cricket Association announced it would be be donating Rs 4.2 million - Rs 2.1 million each to Prime Ministers Relief Fund and Gujarat Chief Ministers Relief Fund set up for battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Among other prominent cricketers, the Pathan brothers - Irfan and Yusuf - donated 4,000 face masks to Baroda police and health department.
India's badminton queen PV Sindhu has donated Rs 1 million - Rs 500,000 each to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana Chief Minister Relief Funds.
Star Indian sprinter Hima Das has donated her one month’s salary to the Assam government to help the state combat the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic.
In terms of individual commitments in the Indian entertainment and sports arena, that standout has been "Baahubali" actor Prabhas, who became the latest Telugu star to donate for the cause.
The actor on Thursday donated Rs 40 million for the cause. Of this, Rs 30 million is being given to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund, while Rs 5 million each go to the Chief Minister Relief Funds of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.