On Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to India's top sportspersons which included cricket stars such as current captain Virat Kohli, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and batting great Sachin Tendulkar, amid a nationwide 21-day lockdown to combat the rapidly-growing global pandemic - COVID-19. A total of 49 athletes, along with sports minister Kiren Rijiju, were present in the video call.
"Of these, 12 have been given three minutes each to speak and present their view," a sports ministry source said to the PTI without revealing the names of the chosen athletes.
COVID-19 has stopped all the cricketing activities in the world and there is no clarity when these will normally resume. The much-awaited Indian Premier League is among the events suspended till April 15.
When Sourav Ganguly was asked about the video conference, he said, "Yes, I will be joining our Honourable via video call. But I cannot tell you what will be discussed."
The ministry source has said that the athletes have been requested to spread awareness on this matter like social distancing and other things through their social media accounts.
"PM will ask them to pass across the message of maintaining the lockdown. He will urge them to post videos to keep people occupied," the source further revealed.
Apart from Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Virat Kohli, others who are taking part include World Cup-winning former captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, former speedster Zaheer Khan, all-rounder Yuvraj Singh and KL Rahul.
Except for cricketers, there were other sports persons also in the video call which included Olympic silver medallist shuttler P V Sindhu, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, chess wizard Viswanathan Anand, sprinter Hima Das, boxing stars MC Mary Kom and Amit Panghal, wrestler VineshPhogat, and teenage shooting sensation Manu Bhaker. The pandemic has caused more than 50 deaths in India, and in the world, the death toll has crossed 50,000 so far.
However, India' are currently in a 21-day lockdown to restrict the spread of the deadly coronavirus which will end on April 14.