Mumbai: The Unacademy Road Safety World Series (RSWS) was the first major event in the country that decided to postpone the remaining seven matches in the series to a later date due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide.

Talking about the postponement, founder of the RSWS, Ravi Gaikwad, RTO chief of Thane (Konkan Range) and senior member of Road Safety Cell of Maharashtra, said, “Just as we want people to be safe on the roads, we want everyone to be safe in life too. That was the reason why we decided to call off the event at a time when we realised that it won’t be safe to continue with the tournament any longer. In fact, the Road Safety World Series was the first major event worldwide to be called off as a precautionary measure for the players, fans, officials and everyone involved. The way things are now, almost a month after the event was called off, we stand vindicated.”

Also read: Road Safety World Series called off

About 75 cricketers, who were part of RSWS, took a pledge, “I pledge to honour the rules of the game and play with dignity in the Unacademy Road Safety World Series. I will face victory or defeat with good sportsmanship and uphold the spirit of cricket. I will also display the same spirit when I am on the road and abide by all traffic rules to promote road safety.”

Also read: India Legends register win in RSWS

Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, who led India Legends, said, “Some 200,000 lives are being lost each year (in road accidents in India). We are lacking patience. Everyone wants everything right now. I always believe, you can have it right or you can have it now. And if there is an elderly person crossing the street, please stop your vehicle for them.”

Founder of the RSWS, Ravi Gaikwad (right), RTO chief of Thane (Konkan Range) and senior member of Road Safety Cell of Maharashtra

Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said, “During my driving test, I struggled to reverse and park my car properly but the driving instructor said it doesn't matter, you just drive straight so I am going to give you the license. With the kind of cars that are in India now, with the speed that they can generate when you give a license to somebody who cannot read signs, you are actually giving an AK-47 in his hands because he can mound on people. When you look at the guys causing accidents it is invariably the professionals who are doing it. We really need to have a zero-tolerance policy. The Road Safety World Series is a great initiative.”

The first four matches in the RSWS saw a tremendous turnout at all venues and huge following and engagement on air and the digital channels. The popularity of this five-nation T20 series, which is held to create awareness towards road safety in the country, grew with every passing day and tickets for most upcoming matches were sold-out much in advance.

The series also highlighted some key elements of road safety. It opened with a very strong message from the Union minister for road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari, conveyed to the people in the stadium and across the country before the start of the first match on the giant screen. He referred to the event as an “important and necessary one” to create awareness towards road safety which is a serious concern in the country.