The Royal Challengers Bangalore have pledged financial assistance to prop up India's "healthcare infrastructure related to Oxygen support" as a devastating second wave of Covid-19 tears through the country.
"What's happening in our country with the spread of the Covid virus is deeply concerning," Virat Kohli, the Royal Challengers captain, said in a video posted by the franchise on their social-media channels on Sunday. "We, as a franchise, over the past week have had focused discussions on how we can help at the ground level and assist frontline workers in these dire times.
"RCB has identified key areas in which immediate help is required in healthcare infrastructure related to Oxygen support, and will be making a financial contribution in this regard to support this work," Kohli said.
The Royal Challengers have also announced they will auction a special blue kit the team will wear in an upcoming match, the funds going towards India's fight against the health emergency.
"The RCB is going to be sporting a special blue jersey in one of the upcoming matches with key messaging on our match kits to pay our respect and show solidarity for our frontline workers who have spent the majority of last year wearing PPE kits & leading the fight against the pandemic," Kohli said.
"RCB will also auction all the signed player jerseys from this game to raise money and add to our earlier financial contribution supporting healthcare infrastructure. We urge all of you to stay safe at home and get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity," he said.
The Royal Challengers are the latest among IPL franchises, overseas and Indian players, and commentators to contribute in the country's time of need.
Shikhar Dhawan, Sachin Tendulkar, Jaydev Unadkat, and Nicholas Pooran had offered to help in various ways. Unadkat pledged 10 per cent of his salary from the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL, while Dhawan, of the Delhi Capitals, and Tendulkar have contributed towards the Mission Oxygen initiative.
The Kolkata Knight Riders' Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins donated US$ 50,000 "specifically to purchase oxygen supplies for India's hospitals". Brett Lee, in India as part of the IPL 2021 commentators' panel, took a leaf out of Cummins' book and made a donation of one bitcoin (US$ 55,000 approx.) towards India's fight against the pandemic.
The Rajasthan Royals on April 29 announced a contribution of over US$ 1 million from their owners, players and management "to help with immediate support to those impacted by Covid-19". The Capitals and its patrons made a donation of INR 1.5 crore (US$ 200000 approx.) to the NGOs Hemkunt Foundation and Uday Foundation in the National Capital Region in order to "procure essential medical supplies, ranging from oxygen cylinders and concentrators to COVID Wellness Kits."