IPL 2021: Chris Woakes feels 'lucky' to be still playing amid coronavirus emergency in India

More than 300,000 cases being reported in a day in the country

England all-rounder Chris Woakes said IPL cricket stars are the "lucky" ones as they play the world's richest T20 tournament while a coronavirus emergency ravages India.

Four players have tested positive, while England's Liam Livingstone left the tournament because of bubble fatigue. In the meantime, infection rates in India have crossed 300,000 a day.

Games are being played in empty stadiums away from the crisis unfolding outside, where overwhelmed hospitals are running critically short of oxygen and beds.

The Indian Premier League, spread across six cities, comes before India is due to host the Twenty20 World Cup in October and November.

Woakes, who plays for the Delhi Capitals, said he was trying to stay positive in the bio-secure 'bubble' cocooning the eight IPL teams.

"It's a shame with the situation at the moment with the people all around the world having to deal with Covid, which isn't ideal," the 32-year-old was quoted as saying by AFP.

"Within the bubble we are trying to stay positive. We are very lucky that we still get a chance to play cricket and entertain people on the outside," he added.

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India has recorded more than 16 million cases and 187,000 deaths from the coronavirus. Per capita numbers are, however, much lower than in many other countries.

"Very different times we are all living in at the moment. It's a very different IPL, no fans, bio-secure bubble, so definitely has a different feel to it," said Woakes.

"To keep busy I have got two English teammates with me in Sam Billings and Tom Curran. We spend quite a lot of time together," he added.

Woakes believes playing T20 cricket in Indian conditions is ideal preparation for the World Cup later this year.

"Bowling at some world-class players in India on small grounds, good pitches that can be as hard as it gets for a bowler," he said.

"Every IPL team is stacked with world-class players, so you are testing yourself against the best players in the world in tough conditions.

"Obviously [with] the World Cup being here at the end of the year, it's perfect preparation."

Published: April 23, 2021 04:27 PM

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