Punjab Ranji Trophy captain and Kings XI Punjab player Mandeep Singh became the first active Indian cricketer to publicly extend his support to the farmers in the ongoing protests against the farm laws.

Mandeep, who has played three T20Is for India, visited Delhi’s Singhu border.

Expressing his solidarity with the protests, Mandeep told The Times of India: “I went there to show my support to all the senior citizens, who are peacefully protesting in this biting cold.”

Mandeep, whose father died recently, added: “If my father would have been alive, he would have also joined the protests. He must be a proud father because his sons did their bit.”

Mandeep was joined by his elder brother Harvinder Singh at the Delhi border. He joins a host of high profile personalities from the state to extend their support to the protests.

Boxer Vijender Singh has announced his intention to return his Khel Ratna, while Punjab boxers Kaur Singh, Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu, and Jaipal Singh have decided to return their Padma Shri, Dronacharya Award, and Arjuna Award respectively.

“I received a lot of messages from athletes from Punjab and Haryana who wanted to support the farmers. But most of them have jobs in the government,” Vijender Singh told Scroll.in over the phone.

“But knowing well the small-mindedness of this government I asked the athletes to not take part in the protests as I felt the government with their small mentality could hurt the careers of these athletes. On a personal front, I’ll firmly stand with the farmers,” added the Indian boxer who contested for a Delhi Lok Sabha seat for the Congress in 2019.