Delhi Capitals Head Coach Ricky Ponting acknowledges that the situation outside the IPL 2021 bubble is 'grim' and has urged his players to not shy away from having conversations on the same to remain calm.
India logged a record of 352,991 coronavirus infections on Monday, taking its total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,73,13,163. The death toll increased to 195,123 with a record 2,812 daily new fatalities, according to the Union health ministry.
'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 Australian cricket legend added that it must be incredibly difficult for players to be in the same city as their families and still not get to meet them because of bio-bubble protocols.
'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,' Ponting said.
'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.
While the IPL has come under scrutiny from fans and the media for carrying on and not coming to a halt in consideration of the country's struggles, Ponting believes the tournament 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,' said Ponting, 'I think cricket can still bring a lot of joy to people.'