Stay safe, look after your family and hopefully we will see you soon— Ricky Ponting AO (@RickyPonting) April 26, 2021
R Ashwin has cut short his IPL season with the Delhi Capitals to be with family as India grapples with a particularly overwhelming second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ashwin tweeted the news on Sunday night, following his team's Super Over victory against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Chennai. He said he "expected to return" if the situation improved.
The Capitals, who began in Mumbai and have now finished the Chennai leg of their tournament, will fly to Ahmedabad on Monday. Ashwin resides in Chennai.
Earlier in the day, the Rajasthan Royals seamer Andrew Tye became the second player to leave the tournament for personal reasons, heading back home to Australia. Last week Tye's Royals team-mate Liam Livingstone returned to England citing "bubble fatigue".
It is also understood that, as of Sunday morning, at least two other Australian players have told their franchises that they have decided to go home as soon as the logistics can be worked out. This is partly down to the tightening of quarantine norms in Australia. Livingstone had returned to England just days before the UK put India on its travel red list - as things stand, inbound passengers from India are barred in the UK, apart from locals who also need to quarantine at paid facilities if returning from India.
The Capitals coach Ricky Ponting, speaking to the franchise's media on Saturday, had admitted that this tournament "has become more about what's happening outside than what's happening here". While he felt the players were "probably the safest people in the country being in the [biosecure] bubbles that we are in", he said he was making sure they spoke about the "grim" situation on the outside on a daily basis to keep them in a good headspace.
At present, the number of new Covid-19 cases per day in India stands at 300,000 on average - and numbers continue to rise - with healthcare services and infrastructure sagging to breaking point under the strain.