Cricket Australia and the country’s players union have backed a fundraising drive with charity UNICEF to respond to India’s coronavirus crisis.
Australian cricket’s governing body is making an initial donation of A$50,000 (£27,920), matching a donation made by Australia vice-captain Pat Cummins last week.
“Australians and Indians share a special bond and, for many, our mutual love of cricket is central to that friendship,” Cricket Australia interim CEO Nick Hockley said in a statement on Monday.
“It has been distressing and saddening to learn of the suffering of so many of our Indian sisters and brothers during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic and our hearts go out to everyone impacted.”
UNICEF Australia’s ‘India COVID-19 Crisis Appeal’ is procuring and installing oxygen equipment in hospitals to treat seriously ill patients, providing testing equipment and “supporting acceleration of the COVID-19 vaccination roll-out”, the charity said.
A massive surge in COVID-19 cases has placed a huge strain on India’s health system, with a shortage of hospital beds and oxygen supplies, and morgues and crematoriums swamped.
India reported 392,488 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, pushing the total cases to 19.56m. Deaths jumped by a record 3,689, taking the overall toll to 215,542.
Amid the crisis, the Indian Premier League cricket tournament has continued despite fierce criticism on social media. The Indian cricket board has said the IPL will continue as scheduled with the final in Ahmedabad on May 30.
Chris Lynn asks Cricket Australia to fly IPL players home
Chris Lynn has asked Cricket Australia to arrange a charter plane to bring players home at the end of the IPL season.
Cricket Australia contacted Australia’s IPL players inquiring about their health and travel plans with Lynn responding by making the request.
“I texted back that as Cricket Australia make 10 per cent of every IPL contract was there a chance we could spend that money this year on a charter flight once the tournament is over?” Lynn, who plays for IPL side Mumbai Indians, said.
“I know there are people worse off than us. But we are going from a really tight bubble and are getting vaccinated next week so hopefully the government will let us get home on a private charter.
“We are not asking for shortcuts and we signed up knowing the risks. But it would be great to get home as soon as the event is over.”
Read More: Sports News