Thiruvananthapuram: Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli on November 6 urged thousands of school children to stay away from drugs and substance abuse.
“We’ve made a good start, but we will have to take the pledge forward and maintain our resolve to stay away from drugs,” Kohli said after administering a pledge against the consumption of drugs at Chandrasekharan Nair stadium in the state capital of Thiruvananthapuram.
Kohli also said it was important for everyone, especially youngsters, to take up a sport.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, state DGP Loknath Behara and three other Indian team members including Dinesh Karthik and Akshar Patel were among those who took the oath with the children, reports rediff.com.
The stadium reverberated with the chants of ‘Kohli, Kohli’ as the Indian cricket team skipper lent his star power to the ‘Say Yes to Cricket and No to Drugs’ campaign of the Kerala Police.
The event proved to be a perfect precursor to the T20 decider between India and New Zealand, scheduled for November 7. A large number of people thronged the stadium, braving heavy downpour. Thousands of school and college students, who filled the stands, were thrilled to catch a glimpse of their cricketing idol. When Kohli made his way to the center stage he was greeted with rapturous applause.
Kerala Ranji team players, including their captain Sachin Baby, Sanju Samson, and Basil Thampi, also took part in the campaign.
Vijayan and Kohli released a postal cover launched by the Postal Department to mark the return of international cricket to Thiruvananthapuram.
Former Indian football captain I.M. Vijayan, who ran the last leg of a torch relay, set aflame a symbolic representation of liquor and drugs.
The occasion was the inaugural ceremony of the anti-drug campaign by Kerala Police titled ‘Yes to Cricket and No to Drugs’.
The chief minister, Kohli and the other players released pink balloons.
The social endeavor of the Kerala Police was in the backdrop of increasing instances of drug abuse among the younger generation.
A senior police official said that since cricket is the favorite sport of the country and cricketers influence the youth in a big way, the police force decided to make use of the opportunity to drive home the message.