As India continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting admitted that the situation outside the IPL bubble is quite "grim" and made an appeal to the players to "keep talking" about it in order remain calm amid the COVID-19 crisis.
"This IPL, probably more than any other, has become more about what's happening on the outside than what's happening here. We right now are probably the safest people in the country being in the bubbles that we are in," Ponting said in a video posted on Delhi Capitals' Twitter handle.
"Continuously, I'm asking the boys at breakfast every day how's everything going on the outside, how's family, is your family safe? Is family happy?" he further said. "And look I think that's a really important thing and we talk here at the Delhi Capitals about being one big family. It is really important. We are thinking about the extended family, not just us, but we've got to be talking about what's happening outside because it is quite grim," he added.
The former Australia captain admitted that it's "hard and difficult" for the players to be away from their families while living in the same city. "Yes, it is hard for the players to be away from their families. I can't imagine, even if I put myself in this situation, guys that live in Chennai are actually home now, but can't see their families. It must be incredibly difficult," said Ponting.
"So the more we can share these experiences, the better off we are. The people that aren't from India, we can be talking to the locals about what they are going through. "We will just keep our fingers crossed. And hope people remain safe. That's a big thing for me, the players are taking the best care of their families where they can from the outside. And we look after what we can do here," Ponting added.
The Delhi Capitals head coach feels the ongoing IPL can "bring a lot of joy" to the citizens of India amid the coronavirus crisis. "Even with the country being in a situation that it is, I think cricket can still bring a lot of joy to people," said Ponting.
"So it is important for us to be doing what we can as cricketers and as coaches and as a franchise to putting on the best show as possible to give the people something that they'd like to see," he added. Delhi Capitals spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has announced that he would be taking a break from the ongoing IPL season as he wants to extend support to his family members who are currently battling Covid-19.
Ashwin played the match against SunRisers Hyderabad in the IPL on Sunday evening and after the game, he took to Twitter to announce that he would be taking a break from the ongoing IPL. "I would be taking a break from this year's 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. I expect to return to play if things go in the right direction. Thank you @DelhiCapitals," tweeted Ashwin.
The Covid-19 pandemic has gripped India and the country has been reporting more than 3,00,000 new cases every day. This is the most number of cases being reported since the pandemic broke out in 2020.