David Warner, Steve Smith and Pat Cummins are among several of Australia’s biggest cricket stars stranded in India, where Covid deaths are continuing to soar and hospitals buckle under pressure.
India recorded 2,812 Covid deaths overnight and infections in the last 24 hours rose to 352,991 on Monday – a record peak and a new global high for a fifth day running.
The situation in the world’s second most populous country is ‘beyond heartbreaking,’ World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, adding that WHO is sending extra staff and supplies including oxygen concentrator devices.
There are 17 Australian players currently in the Indian Premier League, as well as coaches Ricky Ponting and Simon Katich and commentators Brett Lee, Matthew Hayden and Michael Slater.
Both Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association are adopting a watch-and-wait approach, with both organisations in constant contact with players.
David Warner (right) Steve Smith and Pat Cummins are among several of Australia’s biggest cricket stars stranded in India. Smith is pictured with Kane Williamson
Australian Test vice-captain Pat Cummins (pictured, left) donates $50,000 to India Covid crisis
Ricky Ponting, who is in India as coach of the Delhi Capitals, described the situation as ‘grim’
Relatives and municipal workers prepare to bury the body of a person who died of COVID-19 in Gauhati, India, on Sunday. India’s morgues ran out of stretchers and patients were seen wandering the streets in search of hospital beds
As it stands, players organise their own flights out of India given the tournament is during their holiday period.
On signing a no-objection certificate with CA to play in the tournament, players were told there would not be chartered flights home.
However, the situation has since worsened in India and CA will not leave players stranded if there is no other way to return them home.
The dire situation comes amid growing unease, with the Australian government – having already reduced passenger numbers from India – reportedly set to discuss a temporary ban on all repatriation flights from the country on Tuesday.
Ponting, who is in India as coach of the Delhi Capitals, described the situation as ‘grim’.
‘This IPL, probably more than any other, has become more about what’s happening on the outside than what’s happening here. We right now are probably the safest people in the country being in the bubbles that we are in,’ Ponting said.s family happy?
‘We will just keep our fingers crossed. And hope people remain safe. That’s a big thing for me, the players are taking the best care of their families where they can from the outside. And we look after what we can do here.’
In this aerial picture taken on April 26, 2021, burning pyres of victims who lost their lives due to the Covid-19 coronavirus are seen at a cremation ground in New Delhi
Infections in the past 24 hours rose to 352,991, with overcrowded hospitals in Delhi and elsewhere turning away patients after running out of supplies of medical oxygen and beds
Pat Cummins donated $50,000 to go towards more oxygen supplies for India’s pressured hospitals
Bowler Pat Cummins (pictured, left) is encouraging other IPL cricketers to help out in India’s desperate fight against coronavirus
People stand in a queue to receive free food being distributed by a Hindu voluntary organisation amid Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in Hyderabad
Ricky Ponting, who is in India as coach of the Delhi Capitals, described the situation as ‘grim’.
Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson have become the first Australians to leave the IPL since India’s Covid-19 crisis worsened.
Tye was hastily flown out of India on Sunday night after requesting a release from the Rajasthan Royals on personal grounds.
On Monday, Royal Challengers Bangalore announced that leg-spinner Zampa and paceman Richardson had been given permission to return home for personal reasons.
West Australian Tye was able to fly to Doha, before getting a connecting flight to Australia to start two weeks in quarantine.
It’s understood his decision had more to do with bubble fatigue, after having lived in hubs virtually uninterrupted since Australia’s trip to England last August.
Zampa’s Royal Challengers Bangalore team-mate Kane Richardson has also flown home
The IPL is continuing in a Covid-safe bubble but Australian Daniel Sams caught the virus on arrival in India.
Cummins, Australia’s Test vice-captain, donated $50,000 to go towards more oxygen supplies for India’s hospitals.
The star fast bowler encouraged other IPL cricketers to help out in India’s desperate fight against coronavirus.
‘At times like this it is easy to feel helpless. I’ve certainly felt that of late,’ Cummins wrote on social media.
‘But I hope by making this public appeal we can all channel our emotions into action that will bring light into people’s lives.
‘I know my donation isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but I hope it will make a difference to someone.’
Cummins noted there was quite a bit of discussion about whether it was appropriate to continue playing the IPL as the crisis deepens.
He had been told the Indian Government believed the IPL provided a few hours of respite for the country at a difficult time.
India’s new coronavirus infections hit a record peak for a fifth day on Monday as countries including Britain, Germany and the United States pledged to send urgent medical aid to fight the crisis overwhelming its hospitals.
Infections in the past 24 hours rose to 352,991, with overcrowded hospitals in Delhi and elsewhere turning away patients after running out of supplies of medical oxygen and beds.
‘Currently the hospital is in beg-and-borrow mode and it is an extreme crisis situation,’ said a spokesman of the Sir Ganga Ram Hospital in the capital.
On Sunday Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged all citizens to get vaccinated and exercise caution, while hospitals and doctors have put out urgent notices saying they were unable to cope with the rush of patients.
India’s Ravichandran Ashwin has withdrawn from the competition to support his family
In some of the worst-hit cities, including the capital, bodies were being burnt in makeshift facilities offering mass services.
Television channel NDTV broadcast images of three health workers in the eastern state of Bihar pulling a body along the ground on its way to cremation, as stretchers ran short.
‘If you’ve never been to a cremation, the smell of death never leaves you,’ Vipin Narang, a political science professor at MIT in the United States, said on Twitter.
‘My heart breaks for all my friends and family in Delhi and India going through this hell.’
A patient breathes with the help of oxygen outside a parked car along the roadside amid Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in Ghaziabad in India as the country’s Covid crisis worsens
India has set a world record for the highest number of daily Covid infections for a fourth day in the row with 349,691 infections as the country struggles to contain the surging second wave
India, with a population of 1.3 billion, has a tally of 17.31 million infections and 195,123 deaths, after 2812 deaths overnight, health ministry data showed.
But health experts say the death count is probably far higher.
Politicians, especially Modi, have faced criticism for holding rallies attended by thousands of people, packed close together in stadiums and grounds, despite a brutal second wave of infections.
Several cities have ordered curfews, while police have been deployed to enforce social distancing and mask-wearing.
The news comes as the IPL announced it is continuing to play in six cities across India, despite the alarming medical situation across the country.
India, with a population of 1.3 billion, has a tally of 17.31 million infections and 195,123 deaths, after 2,812 deaths overnight, health ministry data showed, although health experts say the death count is probably far higher. Pictured: A graph showing new Covid-19 deaths per-day
Coronavirus infections in India over the last 24 hours rose to 352,991 on Monday – a record peak for a fifth day running
England one-day international player Liam Livingstone left the IPL last week, while Test star Jofra Archer decided against taking up his place in the competition before it began.
England all-rounder Ben Stokes had previously had his participation ended by a broken finger.
The league attracted criticism for continuing during the crisis, with a leading newspaper group accusing it of ‘commercialism gone crass’ as it suspended coverage on Sunday.
The Express Publications newspaper group saying it had stopped reporting on the competition until a ‘semblance of normalcy is restored’.
‘In such a tragic time, we find it incongruous that the festival of cricket is on in India,’ the group said. ‘This is commercialism gone crass.’
Another paper has also hit out at the tournament, with Hindustan Times senior journalist Sharda Ugra describing the lack of response as ‘tone deaf’.
Andrew Tye has revealed other players have spoken to him, asking how he got back home
‘Bubble-wrapped into tone deafness in a persistent, foghorn blast for its many sponsors every five minutes, rather than any quiet, measured acknowledgement of the suffering outside its gates,’ she wrote in a comment piece.
It is expected that more players could withdraw as the pandemic in India worsens, with bowler Tye revealing that others have asked him about a route home.
‘Some of the guys are very interested in what route I took home and how I approached it,’ he told the SEN WA radio station.
‘Other guys are just happy to make sure I’m OK and make sure I’m in a good space.’
The current state of emergency in India comes only months after a multitude of fans were allowed inside stadiums during England’s tour of the country.
More than 60,000 supporters were permitted for the first two T20 internationals in Ahmedabad, before the last three were played without spectators due to the rising number of cases in the state of Gujarat.
More than 60,000 fans were allowed to watch India’s T20 clash with England in Ahmedabad