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Sachin, Ponting bring smiles to underprivileged kids

Last updated on: April 11, 2013 18:39 IST

Sachin, Ponting bring smiles to underprivileged kids

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It was a day to remember for 30-odd unprivileged children, from different Mumbai-based NGOs, as they rubbed shoulders with Mumbai Indians' heroes, including Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting and team mentor Anil Kumble.

A fun-filled cricket match was organised as part of the IPL franchise's 'Education for All' initiative.


Image: Mumbai Indians' Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting with team owner Nita Ambani at the 'Education for All' programme in Mumbai on Thursday
Photographs: Harish Kotian/Rediff.com

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The aim of the programme is to inculcate 'aspirational' training among the kids -- dreaming big and having the self-belief in achieving their goals.

Mumbai Indians, which pioneered the concept of 'Education For All', believe in the upliftment of a child through equal education opportunities.

Sachin Tendulkar termed the time he and his teammates spent with the children as "very special".

"This event was one of the best that I have attended because all these children made our afternoon really special.
After having attended this event I can say there are some really bright children here who can make our nation proud and
I wish you all the very best," said Tendulkar.

"I congratulate bhabhi (team owner Nita Ambani) for this initiative. I think it will make the difference and the direction we want to go in. It's fantastic. We will be playing a game on the 13th. Almost 11,000 children will be watching
that and Mumbai Indians will play for them," the batting icon added.


Image: A physically handicapped kid bowls to Sachin Tendulakar
Photographs: Harish Kotian/Rediff.com

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This initiative, started in 2010 by Nita Ambani, owner of Mumbai Indians, is to provide holistic education to all children.

Mumbai Indians captain Ricky Ponting also hailed the initiative.

"From the Mumbai Indians point of view, and certainly from my point of view, it's been an emotional and uplifting sort of a day. To hear some of the great stories that have been coming out of this initiative holds the whole country in great stead for the future," said Ponting.

"Every one of these kids should be very proud of what they have done. It's not an easy thing to get up on stage and talk about yourself and talk about what you are doing, but every one from the Mumbai Indians today learnt a lot about you and learnt a lot about the programme.

"In two days time we will be playing for you guys and hopefully put on a good performance and we can win another game for you," the former Australia captain and batting ace added. 


Image: Lasith Malinga (right) offers a few tips
Photographs: Harish Kotian/Rediff.com

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The NGO partners for Mumbai Indians 'Education For All' initiative, this year are, Aseema, Aarambh, Akanksha, Meljol and Ummeed. 

Every player of the Mumbai Indians has pledged support to this initiative.

Nita Ambani said close to 8,000 underprivileged children would be coming to the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday, which is a first in Indian sports, for the Mumbai Indians-Pune Warriors match.

Team mentor Anil Kumble praised the children, saying, "I wish I had your confidence to speak up on stage. We will be playing for you, and hopefully, we will get a good victory on Saturday, so that all of you can be proud of Mumbai Indians."


Image: Harbhajan Singh prepares to bowl as Lasith Malinga looks on
Photographs: Harish Kotian/Rediff.com

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On this special occasion, Nita Ambani said, "Last three years has been an eventful journey and I am happy that through our initiatives over 15,000 underprivileged kids have been impacted meaningfully.

"As we enter the fourth year, Mumbai Indians have drawn up plans to touch upon an additional 15,000 children this year itself who deserve the rightful education."


Image: Sachin Tendulkar teaches a young girl to grip the bat
Photographs: Harish Kotian/Rediff.com

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The bunch of kids, which also included a visually impaired and a physically handicapped kid, got lessons in batting from Tendulkar while Harbhajan Singh bowled to the kids.

Mumbai Indians have drawn up plans to touch upon an additional 15,000 children, who deserve the rightful education, this year itself.

"I want to thank the kids who came here today for teaching me a lesson that I have taken everything for granted and you guys have done wonders. Hope you continue what you have been doing and make the nation proud," said senior off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.

Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga said, "I really enjoyed the few hours with you (kids) and we will try to play
good cricket in the next match for you guys."


Image: Nita Ambani and a young kid cuts the cake as Lasith Malinga, Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting look on
Photographs: Harish Kotian/Rediff.com

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