Kolkata Knight Riders' Australian pacer Pat Cummins on Monday announced a USD 50,000 donation towards PM CARES Fund for oxygen supplies in India's COVID-19 ravaged hospitals and backed the IPL to continue, saying he has been "advised" that the Indian government views it "as few hours of joy" in a difficult time.
In a statement on his official Twitter handle, he made the announcement and urged other top players to do the same as the country battles a deadly second wave of the pandemic recording more than 2,000 daily deaths for the past few days.
"As players, we are privileged to have the platform that allows us to reach millions of people that we can use for good. With that in mind, I have made a contribution to the PM CARES Fund, specifically to purchase oxygen supplies for India''s hospitals," he stated.
He also said that he is aware of the ongoing discussion on whether the IPL should continue amid the destruction caused by the virus but has been told that the event offers some respite from the gloom.
"There has been a lot of discussion over here as to whether it is appropriate for the IPL to continue while COVID-19 infection rates remain high," he said.
"I am advised that Indian government is of the view that playing the IPL while the population is in lockdown provides few hours of joy and respite each day at an otherwise difficult time for the country," Cummins said in his statement.
India recorded over 3.53 lakh cases on Monday, the highest across the world since the pandemic began last year.
"To know so many are suffering so much at this time saddens me greatly," he said.
The world's premier fast bowler, who was bought for a whopping Rs 15 crore by KKR at the IPL auction, hoped his donation would make a difference in its own little way in India's fight against unprecedented health crisis.
"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.
"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 USD 50,000," Cummins said.
He described India as 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."
Earlier, Rajasthan Royals Australian pacer Andrew Tye decided to leave midway from the IPL as he feared getting "locked out" of his own country.
Australian bowlers Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson also withdrew from the remainder of the ongoing league citing personal reasons, their franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore said on Monday.