Cricket Australia partnered with UNICEF to make a $50,000 donation to India’s COVID-19 relief, it announced on Monday. The donation comes in the midst of a ghastly second wave in India, where deaths have reached as many as 3,000 per day as the country struggles to curb the crisis.
“Australians and Indians share a special bond and, for many, our mutual love of cricket is central to that friendship,” said Nick Hockley, CA’s interim chief executive.
The governing body also mentioned Australian cricketer Pat Cummins, currently in India for the 14th edition of IPL, and former bowler Brett Lee, both of whom made generous donations of $50,000 and 1 bitcoin (roughly 40 lakh) respectively.
“We were all deeply moved by the sentiments expressed and donations given by Pat Cummins and Brett Lee over the past week.
“In that same spirit, we are proud to partner with UNICEF Australia to raise funds that will help the people of India by providing the health system with much needed oxygen, testing equipment and vaccines,” Hockley added.
Meanwhile, in India, several teams and cricketers have stepped up to the plate to make donations of their own. ‘Master Blaster’ Sachin Tendulkar, most notably, kicked things off when he made a donation of Rs 1 crore to Mission Oxygen, a group of 250+ entrepreneurs who have focused their efforts on providing and distributing oxygen concentrators to severely affected COVID patients.
‘Your support when I was playing was invaluable and helped me succeed. Today, we have to stand together behind everyone that is working hard to fight this pandemic,’ he said in a tweet.
His donations were topped by Shikhar Dhawan, who pledged to donate any individual prize money he received from IPL this season, as well as a starter of 20 lakh towards COVID relief.
His efforts were soon joined by franchises such as Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals, and Punjab Kings, who have all vowed to make varying donations of their own to support the frontline workers.
India sees as many as an average of 3,000 deaths per day from the deadly virus.