Etihad Airways and Mumbai Indians Spread Cheer And Happiness To Schoolchildren

Mumbai: Members of the star-studded Mumbai Indians cricket team gave pupils at a city school a surprise visit to judge a drawing competition organised by sponsors Etihad Airways.

Harbhajan Singh and Kieron Pollard were among the star players who turned up at Gopi Birla Memorial School in South Mumbai, bringing smiles all round.

By entering the competition ‘My Dream Destination’ more than 150 children, aged 10 to 12 years, had a chance to win some great prizes, including merchandise and tickets to see their cricketing heroes in action.

The winners were announced by the cricketers-turned judges who also spent time with the pupils and teachers signing autographs and taking pictures.

Mitvi Dattani, aged 12, whose drawing of Disneyland was adjudged the winning piece of art, was the lucky pupil chosen to be part of the traditional coin toss ceremony at Mumbai Indians’ recent home match against Rising Pune Supergiants at Wankhede Stadium.

Currently at the top of the 10th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Mumbai Indians are looking for a third IPL title after successes in 2013 and 2015.

Neerja Bhatia, Etihad Airways Vice President Indian Subcontinent, said: “Etihad Airways has a strong commitment to the community, continuing to look at ways to forge links between our promotional activities in the cities we fly to, and the local communities we serve. It was therefore with great joy and delight that we were able to bring together children at Gopi Birla Memorial School and their Mumbai Indians cricketing heroes for a fun morning.”

Deepa Shetty, Principal at Gopi Birla Memorial School, added: “With summer vacations round the corner, My Dream Destination was an apt competition theme created by Etihad Airways for our grade 5 to 7 students. The presence of their favourite IPL cricketers was like a cherry on the top especially for the prize winners. Kudos to the IPL cricketers for taking time out of their busy schedule to interact with the children. Heartfelt thanks also to the Etihad Airways team for making it possible for my students to meet their dream role models.”

A Mumbai Indians spokesperson said: “My Dream Destination was an extension of Etihad Airways and Mumbai Indians’ partnership over the years. Mumbai Indians are happy to associate with a noble idea and it is always a pleasure for our players to meet kids, share their enthusiasm and help fulfil their dreams.”

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways is lending its support for the fourth year running to one of the most successful franchise teams and one of India’s biggest sports brands, the Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL) T20 cricket tournament.

Mumbai Indians are once again captained by Indian batsman Rohit Sharma and coached for the first time by Sri Lanka’s former captain Mahela Jayawardena. Star players include Sri Lankan fast bowler Lasith Malinga, New Zealand paceman Mitchell McClenaghan, England batsman-keeper Joss Buttler and West Indies’ World Cup T20 winner Lendl Simmons.