Cause of road safety brings back legends to cricket turf

The greats of the game of cricket have decided to back a humble and humanitarian venture through The Road Safety World Series (RSWS). To give leverage to the sponsors, the nomenclature of the series is going to be Unacademy Road Safety World Series. It is expected to be an exhibition T20 cricket competition. The organisers have roped in retired Test cricketers for this noble endeavour.

It is going to be a five-team tournament. Each team is being led by a legendary yesteryear cricketers of the respective countries – Tillakaratne Dilshan (Sri Lanka), Brian Lara (West Indies), Sachin Tendulkar (India), Jonty Rhodes (South Africa) and Bret Lee (Australia).

The competition was the brain-child of Ravi Gaikwad, the Road Safety Cell of Maharashtra to raise awareness about road safety. It is worthwhile to point out that road accidents have been a major cause for concern across the Indian subcontinent. In 2019, India reported over 151,000 fatalities due to road accidents. One person dies on the road every four minutes in India. Notably, while India has about one percent of the world’s vehicle population, it also accounted for about six percent of the global road traffic incidents. Almost 70 percent of the accidents involved young Indians. Each year, about three to five percent of the country’s GDP is being invested in road accidents.

The last edition of the competition was launched with lot of fanfare which witnessed former Test cricketers in action. The series saw cricketers who had hung up their boots on the field from Bangladesh, England, India, South Africa and Sri Lanka.

Behind the scene in the present programme are two iconic Indian batting heroes of yesteryears- Sunil Gavaskar as Commissioner and Sachin Tendulkar in the role of a Brand Ambassador – threw their weight behind the noble cause. The heavy burden of carrying the righteous project to its rightful conclusion is on the shoulders of  Ravi Gaikwad, Regional Transport Office (RTO), Thane, Mumbai, the founder of the Road Safety World Series. Gavaskar’s company Professional Management Group (PMG) will run the tournament.

Gaikwad is not a novice in the game of cricket. Living in Pune in his teens, he has represented Maharashtra junior cricket at all three levels and even had a Ranji call up. However, the clash between academics (topper in Higher Secondary School examination) and cricket made him opt for studies and landed in Science education before heading to Tatas before joining the RTO. Kudos to Gaikwad for a landmark feather in his cap, the two Guinness Records, one for the largest handball class and another for the largest world safety class.

Steve Jobs, an American business magnate’s words provided encouragement to Gaikwad top go for his dream project, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work; and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

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