Aussie cricket star Pat Cummins has weighed in on the debate over whether the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) should be surging ahead as Covid-19 wreaks havoc in India.
India is suffering from unprecedented carnage with more than 300,000 new Covid-19 cases a day, despite numbers believed to be higher than actual figures.
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Three of Cummins' IPL compatriots - Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson - cut short their IPL stints to return home during the chaos.
This was before the federal government announced a halt to all passenger flights from India to Australia on Tuesday, which will last until May 15.
Cummins sparked an outpouring of support after the Kolkata Knight Riders fast bowler revealed that he's donating $50,000 towards medical supplies for India as they try and contain the outbreak of the virus.
But amid the chaos, the BCCI's decision to continue the IPL amid the country's death and destruction has sparked outrage and disbelief.
Many players have also opted to cut their stint in the tournament short to go home or be closer with family.
Now, Cummins - who remained in India to see out the IPL in a biosecurity bubble - has weighed in on the debate.
The Aussie fast bowler said he believed the little entertainment the competition offers for the cricket-mad nation was worth the distraction from the horrors outside.
"We are doing everything we can to make sure we don't take any resources out of the frontline," the 27-year-old told WION news channel.
"There's an aspect that us playing every night for three or four hours hopefully contributes to making people stay at home more, or at least ... can help them get through each day.
"I don't think ending the IPL is the answer."
Cummins also responded to the outpouring of praise he received after his generous donation during the tough times.
"Just tried to do it to help out a little bit and the response by cricketers and people outside the cricketing community has been huge," he added.
"It's not a great situation at the moment, so anything we can to help."
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that direct commercial and repatriation flights from India had been suspended because of growing Covid-19 cases in hotel quarantine, while indirect flights would also not be possible.
The IPL is scheduled to finish on May 31, so any extension of the travel ban would create substantial headaches for Cricket Australia.
One Aussie cricketer that opted to leave India and cut short his IPL stint was Tye.
Tye's IPL franchise the Rajasthan Royals helped him board a flight back to Sydney, where he will spend 14 days in quarantine before heading home to his family in Perth.
Speaking from his hotel after touching down in Australia, Tye said the IPL biosecurity bubbles shielded the players from many of the horrors that are going on in India.
"Inside the bubble it's incredibly safe and we are very well looked after," he said.
"It's just the craziness of what's going on outside of it, we get incredibly well sheltered from, that's a bit harrowing.
"You can drive through the streets and not see any of it but then you look on the news and you see what's happening and it's just stark in comparison to what they are actually saying."
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