As India continues to wage war against the COVID-19 pandemic and the health crisis which has arisen all across the nation, different countries like Israel, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Bhutan, France, Singapore, and even the United States of America, which had earlier denied to export vaccine raw materials to India saying ‘Americans first’, have come out to assist India and have sent ample resources for the same. Pat Cummins, the Australian pacer, and Brett Lee, former Australian fast bowler, who made their contributions to lend a helping hand to India also did something similar and large-hearted.
On Monday, 26th April, Pat Cummins, Kolkata Knight Riders’ Australian pacer donated US$ 50,000 which is over 37 lakh INR, specifically to purchase oxygen supply for India’s hospitals, to the PM-CARES Fund. With this gesture, he became the first cricketer who is a part of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to contribute and had also posted a note on Twitter. He also urged his fellow IPL cricketers to contribute.
Taking to Twitter, Cummins said, “There has been more discussion over here whether it is appropriate for the IPL to continue while COVID-19 infection rates remain high.” He continued, “I am 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 troublesome time for the country.”
Through his note, Cummins also persuaded other cricketers to make a difference too and 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 will kick it off with US$ 50,000.”
— Pat Cummins (@patcummins30) April 26, 2021
On Tuesday, Brett Lee, former Australian pacer, who is now part of the commentator’s panel of the IPL did his bit and donated 1 BTC or Bitcoin, which is almost 41 Lakh INR to crypto relief, to help India with the purchase of oxygen supplies for the hospitals across India. He too shared a note on Twitter and captioned it as “well done @patcummins30”. Lee said, “India has always been like a second home for me. The love and affection that I have got from the people of this country both during my professional career and even after my retirement, holds a special place in my heart”.
— Brett Lee (@BrettLee_58) April 27, 2021
The contributions Cummins and Lee have made are worth lauding, and they have shown that not only are they fast- bowlers; but ‘fast-helpers’ too! This gesture has highlighted the true ‘sportsman’s spirit’ they have inculcated in them throughout these years. They have become embodiments of the real ‘gentlemen’ of cricket. But with this, arises another pertinent question- where are the Indian cricketers?
If players belonging to a foreign land can come out to help India during testing times like these, what is stopping the cricketers who are Indians themselves to support their fellow countrymen? They are safe and secure in their bio-bubbles but that doesn’t mean that their Indian brothers and sisters are safe as well! Rather, thousands of Indians are battling death, Indians who are cricket maniacs, Indians who love them for the players they are, Indians who worship them, Indians who have indulged in grave ‘fan wars’ and snapped personal relations for them, Indians who revere cricket as religion, Indians who look at the 22-yard pitch and assess whether the ball will spin- all of them are suffering.
If Australians like Pat Cummins and Brett Lee can feel for Indians if British Eoin Morgan can show his solidarity with the Indians who are suffering, why can’t Indians themselves utter even a single word, even merely to show that they empathize, that they care, that they feel bad. Personalities who are influential and affluent enough to make a difference are solely absorbed in hitting cover- drives and bowling batsmen out. Then, why can’t they help when they are privileged enough to assist?
Not that they are not aware of the situation in their country. Their bio- bubbles are not opaque! For instance, Delhi Capitals’ Ravichandran Ashwin quit the league on Sunday stating that he wanted to be with his family as they fought the pandemic. But the fact of the matter is that the cricketers’ families are not the only ones who are battling the pandemic. Every Indian family is, wherein they are household names. Another bitter fact is that the Indians who suffer in real are not affluent enough to win such battles most of the time; because they don’t get paid crores for a cricket league! But then, shouldn’t those who help their fellow countrymen?
What should we think? There are only two options, either the Indian cricketers don’t care or they don’t intend to care. Both of which are highly questionable and unacceptable. There are many cricketers out there who say that India is their priority, where is that priority now? Such things force one to question the very conscience of these ‘players’. One strongly feels that this initiative should not have come from Cummins and Lee, such a possibility shouldn’t even have crossed our minds, rather, an Indian cricketer who is currently a part of the IPL should have begun with this, for the sake of their fellow Indians and the welfare of the people who place them on a pedestal, only because they win matches or hit sixes!
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