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Dravid's heart goes out to AIDS-affected kids

Rahul Dravid on Thursday urged cricketers to play their roles in combating the dreaded HIV/AIDS and reach out to the child victims of the menace that sweeps all the cricket playing countries alike.

india Updated: Nov 29, 2005 19:51 IST

Indian skipper Rahul Dravid on Thursday urged cricketers to play their roles in combating the dreaded HIV/AIDS and reach out to the child victims of the menace that sweeps all the cricket playing countries alike.

Dravid and his South African counterpart Graeme Smith, the two cricket icons of the world's highest population of HIV/AIDS infected people (India is only second to South Africa in number of HIV/AIDS people), made a common cause at a UNICEF function here to fight the evil with all their resources.

"It affects lot of countries, especially the cricket playing nations. So we (cricketers) have a special role to play. We are in a privileged position to impact young lives," said Dravid.

"It is a huge responsibility and I am glad to do my bit."

The two captains are lending voice to the Global Campaign on Children and HIV/AIDS.

"I am signing the AIDS campaign because I know what's required to beat back AIDS is the kind of teamwork that's needed to overcome our biggest challenges," the stylish batsman said.

The campaign was launched in India by President APJ Abdul Kalam October 25 and simultaneously in New York by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

"During our Zimbabwe tour recently we interacted with HIV/AIDS orphans. It was a moving experience to find a 14-year-old boy whose both parents died of AIDS fending for not only himself but also his younger siblings," Dravid recalled.

Smith also urged cricketers to be role models themselves in the fight against the disease.

West Bengal Health Minister Surya Kanta Misra, cricketer Ravi Shastri and UNICEF India representative Cecilio Adorna were present at the function at Taj Bengal hotel, where the two teams are staying ahead of the Friday's match.

First Published: Dec 02, 2003 17:38 IST