Mumbai Indians opt to bat against SunRisers Hyderabad. (Photo: BCCI/IPL). Image Source: IANS News

Chennai: Mumbai Indians : skipper Rohit Sharma made a strong pitch for the conservation of the 'Great One-Horned Rhinoceros' during the opening match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), which the defending champions lost by two wickets in a last-ball thriller.

The opening batsman came out to bat at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Saturday sporting a unique design on his shoes, which showcased the 'vulnerable' species.

The one-horned rhinos were being driven to extinction by poachers before conservation efforts saw them survive. They are now on the 'vulnerable' list of the World Wildlife Federation (WWF).

Taking to Twitter, Sharma shared pictures of the shoe with the message: "Yesterday when I walked on to the field, it was more than just a game for me. Playing cricket is my dream and helping make this world a better place is a cause we all need to work for." In another tweet, he added, "It was special for me to take up a cause so close to my heart with me on the field while I do what I love. Every step matters." Sharma was in 2018 made the WWF-India Rhino Ambassador. After taking pledge, Sharma had said, "My love for rhinos sparked when I first heard about Sudan, the last male northern white African rhino who passed away this year thus leading to the inevitable extinction of the entire species and that broke my heart.

"I researched. The best way for me to help prevent something like this happening and the best way I know how is to create awareness. After getting in touch with WWF I learnt that 82 per cent of the world's rhinos reside in India and I am honoured to be WWF-India's rhino ambassador to spread awareness and do my bit to contribute to the protection and survival of the rhino."

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