CALCUTTA, APRIL 29: Ricky Ponting has expressed his solidarity with millions of Indians fighting against the raging pandemic all over the country.
Australian players have expressed their concern following the suspension of flights from India but the Delhi Capitals head coach said it’s a “small issue” when compared to what was going outside in the “struggling Indian society”.
Australia on Tuesday suspended all direct passenger flights from India until May 15 due to the “very significant” spike in COVID-19 cases. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison made it clear that cricketers competing in the IPL will have to make their “own arrangements” to return home.
“There have been revelations that our Government has made as far as Australians in India returning to Australia. No doubt there have been few distractions, but the travel side for us and Australians who are here is only a small issue,” Ponting said during a virtual news conference after his side lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore by one run in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.
“On daily basis, we are thinking about what’s happening outside and we understand how blessed we are to be doing what we are doing. Hopefully, there are a number of people in India who got enjoyment by watching IPL.”
Three Australian players have returned home amid the escalating health crisis while Mumbai Indians batsman Chris Lynn requested Cricket Australia to arrange for a charter flight to take them home.
The BCCI has assured franchises that it will make arrangements for the return of the foreign players once the tournament ends on May 30.
In a letter to all the franchises, BCCI’s interim Chief Executive Officer Hemang Amin said on Tuesday that ensuring the return of every foreign cricketer was their responsibility.
“Be rest assured that the tournament is not over for BCCI till each one of you has reached your home, safe and sound,” Amin wrote.
Ponting spoke about the “strange feeling” in the bubble because of the situation outside. “It’s really a strange feeling among our team right now. We are very much aware of what is happening outside. In fact, throughout India at the moment… Our heart goes out to every single person who is struggling with COVID-19 in Indian society,” Ponting said.
“It’s affecting us, and we saw one of our players Ravichandran Ashwin leave the side to be with his family. We are talking more about it, maybe more than most teams are.” (Courtesy: TT)