Cummins donates to Indian COVID-19 appeal as most IPL players stay put

Senior Australian cricketer Pat Cummins has urged his compatriot players in the Indian Premier League to donate money to boost the coronavirus ravaged country’s oxygen supplies.

The IPL season – being played behind closed doors in India– runs until the end of May. Cummins suggested on Monday night he would stay in India, which has recorded more than 2.2 million new cases of COVID-19 in the past week alone, despite other Australian white-ball stars Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson and Andrew Tye having already left.

Pat Cummins has donated $50,000 for oxygen supplies in COVID-19 ravaged India while playing in the IPL.Credit:Getty

Australia’s men are due to head to the West Indies for a white-ball tour in late June.

“There has been quite a bit of discussion over here as to whether it is appropriate for the IPL to continue while COVID-19 infection rates remain high [in India],” he said in a Twitter post.

“I’m advised that the Indian government is of the view that playing the IPL while the population is in lockdown provides a few hours of joy and respite each day at an otherwise difficult time for the country.”

Cummins said he had felt “helpless” at the rate of suffering in the country, but had decided to donate $50,000 to a fund for oxygen supplies.

“As players, we are privileged to have a platform that allows us to reach millions of people that we can use for good. With that in mind, I have made a contribution to the ‘PM Cares Fund’, specifically to purchase oxygen supplies for India’s hospitals,” he said.

“I encourage my fellow IPL players – and anyone else [around] the world who has been touched by India’s passion and generosity – to contribute.

“I know my donation isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but I hope it will make a difference to someone.”

Cummins’ announcement came as the federal government considers a ban on all flights from India, which has recorded 2.2 million new coronavirus cases over a seven-day period.

Despite the fresh player exits, and the broader pandemic crisis in India, well-placed sources indicated most Australian players and staff involved in the Indian Premier League were planning to stay the course, feeling safe in their biosecure bubble.

Sources said Cricket Australia (CA) has previously arranged a charter flight for a player in special circumstances during the pandemic but that it would be a last resort on this occasion.

CA has given permission for players – several of whom are centrally contracted – to head to India, but they are ultimately there on their own time. Players have already had trouble organising flights out of India. Tye flew back via Doha.

The governing body issued a joint statement with the Australian players union on Monday.

“Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association remain in regular contact with Australian players, coaches, and commentators taking part in the Indian Premier League, which is being conducted under strict biosecurity protocols,” the statement said.

“We will continue to listen to feedback from those on the ground in India and the advice of the Australian government. Our thoughts are with the people of India at this difficult time.”

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