Cricket Australia (CA) and the country's players union have stepped forward to support a fundraising campaign with charity UNICEF Australia to help cricket-loving India tackle the devastating second wave of COVID-19.
Australian cricket’s governing body CA is making an initial donation of A$50,000 ($38,600), matching a donation last week made by Australia vice-captain Pat Cummins, who is currently playing in the IPL tournament in India as a member of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
"Australians and Indians share a special bond and, for many, our mutual love of cricket is central to that friendship," CA 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 in a statement.
The Indian Premier League cricket tournament is being played without spectators because of the sudden surge in Covid-19 infections and many Australian cricketers are playing for various teams in the tournament.
Australia and Kolkata Knight Riders fast bowler Pat Cummins has donated $50,000 to the PM Cares Fund to help in India's fight against Covid-19. Cummins said that he made the contribution to the fund to help the country to purchase oxygen supplies for hospitals.
Cummins said, "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. 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. 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.
Britain sending ventilators
Meanwhile, Britain will send another 1,000 ventilators to India, the government said on Sunday.
The British government had previously agreed to send 600 medical devices, including ventilators and oxygen concentrators.
"This support will help urgently meet some of India's acute needs, particularly oxygen for patients. We are determined to help our Indian friends in their hour of need," Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.
Top British health officials have also spoken to their Indian counterparts to offer advice based on their own experience in dealing with the deadly pandemic.
The latest support from Britain comes in the run-up to a virtual meeting between prime ministers Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi, which is taking place to strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations as PM Johnson’s visit to India that was scheduled for last month had to be called off due to the sudden increase in Covid-19 infections.
The surge in COVID-19 infections has overwhelmed India's health care system, as the hospitals do not have space for the massive number of cases and oxygen supplies have been running short. The country reported a staggering 392,488 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday with the number of deaths shooting up by a record 3,689.
This has come as a major setback for the global war against the pandemic as India was exporting vaccines and medical supplies to other countries. The country is now running short of supplies itself due to the massive second wave of coronavirus infections.