Australian Test skipper and KKR's strike bowler Pat Cummins has asked the Indians to redouble their efforts to fight Covid-19 as numbers continue to grow at an alarming rate in the country.
Cummins, who is Unicef's Australia ambassador, has been at the forefront of spreading the message about the pandemic and has often called upon Covid-19 front-line warriors to do everything possible to stop the spread of the disease in the country.
In fact, he was among the first cricketers in the IPL to recognise the gravity of the situation in India when the country was in the grip of the second wave of the pandemic last year.
He reminded the Indians of their duty once again on Friday when he tweeted an image of from last year of packed respirators waiting to be distributed, and wrote, "Like everyone, 12 months ago I was taken (a)back by the dire circumstances being faced by many in my second home, India, due to the impacts from Covid 19 -- especially the critical shortages of oxygen available to patients suffering.
"Today (Friday), I've just had a fantastic meeting with UNICEF India who've discussed with me an update on the situation, and how the donations made by many people had a profound impact on many people's lives across India -- actually saving people's lives.
"The funds raised helped with the supply and delivery of oxygen generation plants, portable oxygen generators, PCR machines, tonnes of safety equipment and emergency medical supplies -- all distributed to hospitals and local clinics, all across the country.
"A special shout out to the countless front-line hero's (heroes) who put themselves in danger every day...we all owe you an immeasurable debt of gratitude for your selflessness and commitment in the face of the pandemic," wrote Cummins in a series of tweets.
A year ago, India was in the grip of the virus, becoming the first country to register over four lakh new cases on April 30, 2021. In fact, no country continued to register as many cases as India did on a daily average basis for several months. As a result, hospitals were short on medical supplies, not least oxygen cylinders which resulted in a record 4.08 million deaths, the highest around the world between January 2020 and December 2021, said KKR on its website.
"When the devastating impact of Covid-19 was at its peak in April, during the Indian leg of the IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders' all-rounder Pat Cummins pledged to make a contribution worth USD 50,000 to India's 'PM Cares Fund' and UNICEF Australia's India Covid-19 crisis appeal and set an example for his 'fellow IPL players', who were touched by India's passion and generosity, by making a public appeal to support the country engulfed by the pandemic."
The funds were used by the Indian government to arrange for oxygen cylinders, PCR machines, emergency medical supplies for hospitals across the country. A year on, India has managed to minimize Covid-19's impact with several cities registering zero cases while the recovery rate is 98.7 per cent of total cases, thanks in large part to the countless frontline workers who dedicated themselves to the cause, added the KKR statement.
Cummins has been UNICEF's ambassador and has worked closely with them as well as UNICEF India to ensure the families and children alike have not only fully recovered but are also well-protected before, during and after emergencies, the franchise added.