IPL 2021: RCB players to don a blue jersey against KKR, franchise VP reveals details behind the special gesture
Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will open the second half of IPL 2021 with players sporting a special blue jersey against the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to pay a tribute to the Covid-19 frontline warriors.
Since 2011, the Indian Premier League (IPL) giants Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) have donned a special green jersey at least once every season as a part of the 'Go Green Initiative'; a campaign that was flagged off to spread awareness about keeping the planet clean and healthy. Come 2021, a year laced with unprecedented times and events, RCB have decided to open the second half of IPL 2021 with players sporting a special blue jersey to pay tribute to the Covid-19 frontline warriors.
For the last one-and-a-half years, India and the rest of the world have grappled with Covid-19, which has claimed millions of lives around the world. Life came to a standstill as agony and pain continued to rise sharply. However, with the continued effort of Covid warriors, life in India is crawling back to normalcy. And to thank them for their non-stop hard work for the last 18 months, RCB have decided to do their bit. The franchise's Vice President & Head Rajesh Menon, in a conversation with the Hindustan Times, elaborated further:
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"India was in the woke of a health crisis, and we really wanted to do our bit in whatever little way we can. We had announced the Blue Jersey initiative in May this year but the tournament came to a pause due to rising cases of Covid. We intend to keep our promise with the fans and will wear a Blue Jersey in our opening match of the IPL 2021 season resumption on September 20th, 2021, to pay homage to the Frontline Warriors. The Blue Jerseys worn by the team will be auctioned and the revenue generated will be used in the assistance of vaccination deployment in an underprivileged community in India. This is in the efforts of our collaboration with GiveIndia and Fankind."
Apart from paying homage to the healthcare workers, the 2016 runners-up have promised "deeper" engagement with the fans. Since the fans in India will not be able to watch their heroes battle it out in the stadium, Menon mentioned that the franchise continues to remain focused on quality fan engagement.
"Fans will witness even deeper engaging segments on the RCB Mobile Application and Digital channels during the tournament ahead. Through our dedicated IPs, we have been committed to engaging with our fans. RCB was named as the most engaged sports team in the world on Instagram in April, towards the start of the first leg of the tournament. We have even surpassed other IPL teams and global giants like Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Manchester United, who have a higher following than RCB and we commit to continue with the same," explained Menon.
Virat Kohli-led Bangalore will resume their campaign against two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. An impressive opening half saw the team climb to the third spot in the standings but the challenge of starting from scratch will be a hindrance to every team. Menon, however, feels that the boys are up for the challenge and the aim would be to maintain the high standard they set for themselves four-and-a-half months back.
"Yes, we’ve had a great start to the tournament and would like to capitalize on the No. 3 position where we currently find ourselves on the points table. As a close group, the team management and the boys are mentally prepared for anything that comes our way. Our preparations so far have been top-notch. The boys have been sweating it out and bringing that intensity during training which is really encouraging despite the severe weather conditions in the UAE.
"During the break, we have been constantly engaging with our players – the coaching staff have been monitoring their fitness programmes regularly. The team management also have had multiple meetings and Virat too has been taking keen interest to see that the squad peak at the right time come the opening match," concluded VP Menon.