Mumbai: When one talks cricket to Ravi Gaikwad, RTO Chief of Thane (Konkan range), he surprises one and all with anecdotes and interesting insights of the game from an insider's perspective. That he has friends in the cricketing circle is just one aspect of it. Like many others, he too eats, sleeps and breathes cricket. But his love for the sport extends beyond the realms that a normal fan would tread on.
After climbing the ladder of age-group cricket through the under-15, 17 and 19 categories, he found his calling during a Ranji Trophy camp for Maharashtra when in his early twenties. For someone who was the HSC topper in the state and double gold medallist in engineering, his love for cricket was explicitly high. But, he left the camp midway and dedicated his days ahead to academia.
After engineering, Gaikwad joined the TATAs as a scientist. But after clearing Civil Service, he joined the RTO department and started taking various initiatives to create awareness towards road safety. The Road Safety World Series, the T20 cricket event which will be played between legends of India, Australia, South Africa, West Indies and Sri Lanka in February next year, gave him an opportunity to return to his first love (cricket) and work on his mission to save lives on the roads.
While he is on a mission to save a precious life, his wife Nirmala serving the society with the humble profession, doctor while taking care of their two kids Ananya and Rishi.
“As cricket is the most followed sport in the country and cricketers are looked up to as idols, I believe that the Road Safety World Series will work as an ideal platform to influence and change people mindset towards their behaviour on the roads,” said Gaikwad, talking to Free Press Journal.
“I have repeatedly mentioned that it is of utmost importance that people from all walks of life come forward to support this initiative because the impact of these losses is far greater than just statistical numbers, it destroys families. Many people out there are also suffering because of someone else’s mistakes. We need to take this seriously, we need to educate the people and make them aware of their responsibilities. We need to create opportunities to save as many lives as possible on Indian roads,” said Gaikwad who hardly gets time to indulge in his favourite pastime, cricket, nowadays.
“Even during my Civil Service exams, I didn’t miss a single cricket match, but now, I don’t get any time at all,” said Gaikwad with a wry smile, but with the Road Safety World Series, he is basking in the excitement that the event is generating across the globe.