India, Afghan players join hands against polio
St Lucia: Indian and Afghanistan cricketers today joined forces in an United Nations initiative with Suresh Raina and Nawroz Mangal exchanging "Bowl Out Polio" cricket bats as regional solidarity towards the elimination of the virus from the neighbouring countries.
While most of the world has been polio-free for years, India, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria are the only four countries that have never stopped polio virus transmission.
"It is our obligation as athletes to make sure every child has the opportunity to run and to play. We are happy to come together with the Afghanistan team for this important cause," said Raina.
As long as India and Afghanistan continue to see polio transmission, their neighbours are at high risk of re-infection.
"If we do not end polio in India, the rest of the world will suffer," said India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
"Every parent must vaccinate their children regardless of travel schedules, work or anything else in our busy lives. Nothing is more important than our children`s future," he added.