Who is Simranjeet Singh & Why is His Name On Virat Kohli’s Jersey?


Who is Simranjeet Singh & Why is His Name On Virat Kohli’s Jersey?

Illustration: Mitesh Parmar

While coronavirus cases may be soaring in India, the continuous and gigantic effort put in by Covid warriors must not be lost on us, whether they are doctors, police officers or simply ordinary folks arranging travel or food for migrants. Everyone has tried to honour these Covid warriors in their own ways. Some cheered for them from their balconies while others made monetary contributions to whatever extent they could.

Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli is also doing his bit to honour our Covid champions, through RCB’s #MyCovidHeroes initiative. RCB announced that the team will “proudly don a tribute jersey with the message ‘My Covid Heroes’ both during training & matches during the IPL in honour of all the Real Challengers who have helped the world during these uncertain times.”

King Kohli, who has over 38.1 million followers on Twitter and 79.9 million followers on Instagram, changed his display picture to a jersey with Simranjeet Singh’s name on it. The skipper posted a video message saying, “Meet hero Simranjeet Singh from Chandigarh, who decided to help the deaf community so that no one sleeps hungry.”

RCB, through its official social media handles, put out a video tribute for Simranjeet Singh (38), a hearing-impaired senior assistant in the Punjab Home Guard Department, who had raised more than ₹98,000 along with his friends for deaf and hearing-impaired persons in May-June early this year.

In the video, Simranjeet explains the difficulty the deaf community faced during the pandemic and how he, along with some friends, came together to help people out. King Kohli gave a “royal salute” to Simranjeet in the video.

Speaking to The Indian Express with the help of an interpreter, Singh said, “We raised more than ₹98,000 and distributed ration kits for the hearing-impaired persons and children staying in different slums and Vatika Public School in Chandigarh. It feels special to see Virat Kohli changing his name to Simranjeet Singh for a day and the honour belongs to all the hearing-impaired community. I am waiting to see Virat wear my jersey in this IPL.”

Explaining the challenges in the process, Singh added, “When we all started the fundraising drive to arrange ration kits, the only worry we had in our mind was to get the necessary permissions to arrange langar and distribute ration kits during lockdown. My ten-year-old son, who uses Cochlear implants to converse, wanted to join us but stayed at home. He handed us ₹500 out of his pocket money for the ration kits. He also loves watching cricket and is a Virat Kohli fan. He too cheered for Virat today and is waiting to see him wear my name on the jersey.”

The entire RCB team has gotten behind the #MyCovidHero initiative, and throwing light on these ordinary people who have accomplished extraordinary feats during the pandemic. IPL favourite AB de Villiers also followed in the footsteps of his skipper, changing his name and DP to honour Paritosh Pant, a Mumbai-based restaurant owner who fed 3,000 people (daily-wage earners and their family) twice a day during the lockdown.

Pace bowler Umesh Yadaav honoured Shahnawaz Shaikh, who sold his car to buy oxygen cylinders for the needy. “Saluting his selflessness,I am wearing a jersey dedicated to him and all the other real challengers this season,” Umesh tweeted.

Navdeep Saini introduced the world to Akshay Kothawale, who didn’t hesitate to use the money he saved for his wedding to help feed migrant workers.

Most of these tireless efforts and the names of the people behind it would’ve gone unnoticed  had the RCB team not carried out this initiative. For that, they must be celebrated. RCB may or may not win the IPL come November, but they have surely won our hearts.