Senior Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has decided to take a break from the ongoing IPL, saying that his family is currently "putting up a fight against COVID-19" and he wants to support them.
The 34-year-old is competing for the Delhi Capitals this season and hopes to return to the side "if things go in the right direction".
"I would be taking a break from this years IPL from tomorrow. My family and extended family are putting up a fight against #COVID19 and I want to support them during these tough times," Ashwin posted on his Twitter page after DC's game against SunRisers Hyderabad here on Sunday night.
"I expect to return to play if things go in the right direction. Thank you @DelhiCapitals," added the Chennai-based player.
It is learnt, that a very close member of his family has tested positive for the dreaded virus.
His franchise promised full support to him in a twitter post of its own.
"Extending our full support to you in these difficult times, @ashwinravi99. Sending you and your family all the strength and prayers from all of us at Delhi Capitals," DC said.
Ashwin has become the first Indian player to pull out of the league because of a COVID-19 situation in the family.
Given that the IPL is being held in a bio-bubble, Ashwin will have to be in quarantine for some days if he decides to come back and compete, which would also impact his availability going forward in the tournament.
In an earlier tweet, Ashwin had expressed concern about the pandemic ravaging the country right now. "Heart breaking to see what's happening around my country! I am not in the healthcare fraternity, but my sincere gratitude to each of them. I would also like to make an earnest appeal to every Indian to exercise caution and stay safe," he had said.
India is recording over 3 lakh daily cases for the past few days and the health infrastructure is struggling to handle the rise with shortage of oxygen and some crucial medicines adding to the crisis.
With inputs from PTI