Indian batsmen Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma wear t-shirts displaying their mother's names. Photograph: (AFP)
The gesture was initiated by the team's sponsorship rights holder and broadcaster Star India, for their 'Nayi Soch' campaign
In an attempt to promote gender equality, the Indian cricket team today sported jerseys with their mothers' names on them during the fifth and final ODI against New Zealand in Visakhapatnam.
The move is part of the Indian team's sponsorship rights holder and broadcaster Star India's "Nayi Soch" (translated in English to, new way of thinking) campaign.
"To make a powerful statement, one that can inspire millions and propel change, our cricket team today sported jerseys with their mothers' names at final ODI of the India-New Zealand series. Our cricket team will serve as ambassadors of new thinking and use the power and platform of sport to drive meaningful social change," Star India said in a statement.
It expects the symbolic gesture to champion the cause of women in the country which is ranked 130th out of 155 nations in the world on gender equality, as per the UN Human Development Report 2015.
"This is the first time in the world that a team jersey is being used so disruptively to power social change. We compliment BCCI (the Board of Control for Cricket in India) and the team for such a transformational collaboration. This time around both the BCCI as well as Star have put their strength together to highlight the cause of women in our country," Star India chairman and chief executive Uday Shankar said.
"World over sports is a tremendous platform for advocacy and social causes. Our cricketers sporting their mothers' names make a powerful and emotive statement, and we are thankful to BCCI and the cricket team for partnering with us on this idea. It will support the voice of the emerging women and inspire millions to acknowledge and celebrate the identity and role of women here," he added.
BCCI president Anurag Thakur said, "with this initiative, our endeavour is to honour each and every woman. Our team have sported their mothers' names on their jerseys for the fifth ODI against New Zealand with intent to thank all the mothers for their efforts and sacrifices."