India's Ashwin withdraws from IPL to support family over Covid

New Delhi, India: Ravichandran Ashwin, India's star spinner, pulled out of the Indian Premier League on Sunday to help his family during the Covid-19 pandemic, dealing a major blow to the glitzy game, which is still going on amid the country's increasing death rates.

Ashwin, 34, the main Test and ODI performer, has announced that he will retire from the lucrative T20 franchise tournament with the Delhi Capitals.

"My family and extended family are putting up a fight against #COVID19 and I want to support them during these tough times," Ashwin tweeted.

"I expect to return to play if things go in the right direction. Thank you @DelhiCapitals."

Ashwin's decision is a big setback for the lucrative tournament, which is taking place behind closed doors until May 30.

A leading Indian newspaper party suspended coverage of the IPL on Sunday, calling the tournament "commercialism gone crass" and "incongruous" in the midst of the country's record-breaking pandemic wave.

The New Indian Express, Express Publications' flagship English-language newspaper, said in a front-page editorial that it would stop reporting on the Twenty20 tournament before "semblance of normalcy" was restored.

Delhi stated that they agreed with Ashwin's decision.

"Extending our full support to you in these difficult times, @ashwinravi99 Sending you and your family all the strength and prayers from all of us at Delhi Capitals," the team tweeted.

In a 10-year international career, Ashwin has appeared in 77 Tests, 111 One-Day Internationals, and 46 Twenty-20 Internationals.

He is one of the 16 bowlers in history to have taken 409 Test wickets.

Ashwin has over ten million followers on Twitter.

On his profile page, he makes the following request: "Stay at home and be safe! Take your vaccine as directed."

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