Fans urge Australian cricketers to donate to India as country runs out of oxygen amid Covid crisis

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Cricket fans have urged Australian superstars earning hefty pay packets while competing in the IPL to donate to India amid their devastating coronavirus crisis. 

Fast bowler Pat Cummins, who is in India representing Kolkata Knight Riders, announced he would give $50,000 to the PM Cares Fund, with the cash to be spent on purchasing oxygen for India’s overcrowded hospitals.

The Test cricketer urged fellow IPL players and fans across the world to contribute. 

Former international cricketer Brett Lee, who is in India to commentate the lucrative competition, followed suit on Tuesday, announcing he would donate 1 Bitcoin, about $71,000, to Crypto Relief.

While the efforts of Cummins and Lee were commended by cricket fans in India and Australia – some were quick to ask whether other big names of the league would be giving back to a community they are currently calling home.

Brett Lee and Pat Cummins are pictured together back in 2013. The pair have both donated thousands to India amid a deadly Covid outbreak

Brett Lee and Pat Cummins are pictured together back in 2013. The pair have both donated thousands to India amid a deadly Covid outbreak

Fast bowler Pat Cummins, who is in India representing Kolkata Knight Riders, announced he would give $50,000 to the PM Cares Fund

Fast bowler Pat Cummins, who is in India representing Kolkata Knight Riders, announced he would give $50,000 to the PM Cares Fund

Former international cricketer Brett Lee, who is in India to commentate the lucrative competition, followed suit on Tuesday

Former international cricketer Brett Lee, who is in India to commentate the lucrative competition, followed suit on Tuesday

There are 36 Australian cricketers, coaches and commentators in India for the IPL, including leading Test players Steve Smith and Dave Warner.

Warner, the captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad, has been criticised on his Instagram account for even flying to India to begin with. 

‘Hang on a sec. Mainstream media reporting a mega pandemic in India. Wtf are you going to India for? You high profile cats not speaking out against what’s going on will face your karma,’ one comment read. 

‘Sitting on a plane (risking your life) in full PPE gear with NO GLOVES on BTW! Off to India to hit a ball with a stick. If you were that scared WTF are you going?’ another said.  

Fans also asked the father-of-three when he would share some of his $2.3 million IPL pay package.  

‘Expecting some donation from you David?’ one person wrote on Instagram. 

Former Australian captain Steve Smith has not yet revealed whether he intends to donate money to India amid the humanitarian crisis.  

Smith was purchased for $390,000 at February’s auction to represent the Delhi Capitals. 

Warner, the captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad, has been criticised on his Instagram account for even flying to India to begin with

Warner, the captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad, has been criticised on his Instagram account for even flying to India to begin with

Former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting is the coach of the Delhi Capitals. He has shared pictures of his squad in action since touching down in the South Asian country, as well as photo of him wearing a face shield

Former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting is the coach of the Delhi Capitals. He has shared pictures of his squad in action since touching down in the South Asian country, as well as photo of him wearing a face shield

‘You’re the best batsman. Today India needs leaders like you in this bad time of Corona and loss of life, money and emotions,’ another comment said.

‘Please donate and please ask all fellow IPL players especially famous Indian players to donate to the country as the pandemic hits India very badly.’ 

Former Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting is the coach of the Delhi Capitals.

He has shared pictures of his squad in action since touching down in the South Asian country, as well as photo of him wearing a face shield.

One resident wrote: ‘Hey Ricky… This is insane when the rest of India is hit by a deadly Covid wave. People are dying in the streets and in hospital corridors.’

When announcing his donation, Cummins said he’s grown to love India dearly over the years.

‘To know so many are suffering so much at this time saddens me greatly,’ he said.

David Warner and Kane Williamson are seen in full PPE as they travel on a plane during the IPL

David Warner and Kane Williamson are seen in full PPE as they travel on a plane during the IPL

Lee (left) announced he would donate 1 Bitcoin, about $71,000, to Crypto Relief

Lee (left) announced he would donate 1 Bitcoin, about $71,000, to Crypto Relief

His donation to the PM Cares Fund will go towards much-needed oxygen supplies for coronavirus patients at India’s overwhelmed hospitals.

‘At times like this it is easy to feel helpless. I’ve certainly felt that of late,’ Cummins said.

‘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, who is staying put in India for now, called on other IPL players to contribute.

‘And anyone else around the world who has been touched by India’s passion and generosity,’ the fast bowler said. 

Cummins was purchased by Kolkata for a record $3.1 million in an IPL auction in December 2019.  

The federal government has halted all passenger flights from India to Australia until May 15, clouding the return of Australia’s best cricketers.

Batsman Chris Lynn, who is earning about $357,000 playing for the Mumbai Indians, has led calls for Cricket Australia to organise a plane to get players out of the South Asian nation. 

But his pleas for the government to enable the players – who have been living in a bubble and will be vaccinated next week – to return home by giving an exemption to the ban on planes from India has been met with fury by Australians, who believe they should not be given preferential treatment.  

There are 36 Australian cricketers, coaches and commentators in India for the IPL, including leading Test players Steve Smith (pictured) and Dave Warner

There are 36 Australian cricketers, coaches and commentators in India for the IPL, including leading Test players Steve Smith (pictured) and Dave Warner

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Tuesday that direct commercial and repatriation flights from India had been suspended because of growing Covid-19 cases in hotel quarantine, while indirect flights would also not be possible.

The federal government will review the measures closer to May 15 as they seek to help approximately 8,000 Australians return home from India, where the army has been called in to help overwhelmed hospitals amid a deadly second wave of coronavirus infections.

The IPL is scheduled to finish on May 31, while the regular season ends on May 24, so any extension of the travel ban would create substantial headaches for Cricket Australia.

The prime minister made it clear Australians involved in the IPL would not jump the queue for repatriation flights whenever they resume.

‘It’s done on vulnerability,’ Morrison told reporters.

‘They travelled there privately under those arrangements, this wasn’t part of an Australian tour.

‘They’re under their own resources and they’ll be using those resources to, I’m sure, see them return to Australia.’

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