In the wake of an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases in India and the misery it has caused so far, Australian and Kolkata Knight Riders pacer Pat Cummins has decided to donate to the PM Cares Fund.
The 27-year-old took to Twitter to express his grief on the situation in India, a country he has 'come to love dearly over the years.' He also went on to add that he has decided to donate $50,000 (INR 37 Lakhs) to the PM Cares Fund to specifically purchase oxygen for India's hospitals where there has been an acute shortage of the life-saving gas.
"India is a country I have come to love dearly over the years and the people here are some of the warmest and kindest I've ever met. To know so many are suffering so much at this time saddens me greatly. 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," Cummins said in a statement.
He also ended the note urging fellow cricketers playing in the IPL to come forward, and hopefully, they will be able to make a difference.
"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 $50, 000. At times like these, it is easy to feel helpless. I've certainly felt that of late. But I hope by making this public appeal we can all channel our emotion 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," he added.
Pat Cummins' gesture was met with a lot of love and respect on social media. This is the first time a player of such stature has openly voiced his opinion and demonstrated empathy on the massive toll of the second wave of the COVID-19 since the IPL began.
However, the decision to donate to PM Cares also sparked a reaction among fans and journalists. Several of them pointed out that over $1.27 billion was donated to PM Cares last year, but despite several RTI requests, that money is by all means unaccounted for. They also seemed to resent the fact that most high-profile Indian players have been quiet over the matter.
Journalist Barkha Dutt, meanwhile, lamented the fact that no Indian cricketer has displayed a gesture such as this.
Nevertheless, it's great to see a cricketer in the limelight speaking his mind amidst such turbulent times and coming forward with an act of generosity and compassion.
We sincerely hope Pat's gesture persuades more cricketers to spring into action and hopefully, it helps India 'bowl out' the threat of the Coronavirus.