India and Delhi Capitals lead spinner R Ashwin was playing the last few days of the truncated 2021 IPL "without getting any sleep" when his family members were down with Covid-19 and a few of his cousins were admitted to the hospital. As many as ten members of his family had tested positive when Ashwin decided to leave the IPL to support his family. Around ten days later, the IPL was postponed as Covid-19 cases started rising across teams in the biosecure bubbles.
"Almost everyone from my place had got affected due to Covid," Ashwin said on his YouTube channel on Thursday. "In fact, a few of my cousins also got admitted and were serious and they somehow recovered.
"I couldn't sleep for almost eight-nine days. Since I couldn't sleep, it was really stressful for me. I was playing matches without getting any sleep. And since I found it really taxing, I had to quit IPL and go home midway. In fact, when I left around that time, I had thoughts on whether I will be able to play cricket thereafter. But still, I did what was required at that point of time. Anyway, after that, I thought there won't be any cricket for some time."
Ashwin said his family went through a "testing time", which his wife had also described as a "nightmare of a week".
"In between, when people in my house started recovering, I thought of coming back into the IPL and that's when IPL was called off," he said.
Ashwin is currently with the India squad in Mumbai where they are serving a 14-day quarantine, of which the first seven days were "hard quarantine" in which players were not allowed to get out of their hotel rooms. After seven days and three negative tests, they could use the gym and train, and after the tenth day, they could visit common areas and interact with other players.
The Test squad will fly to the UK on June 2 for the World Test Championship final against New Zealand and five Tests against England in August-September. The India Women's team will also travel on the same charter flight for their all-format tour of England, comprising one Test, three ODIs and three T20Is.
Ashwin called reaching Mumbai via a charter plane a "different experience" and "with each passing day, the struggle is only getting worse". But he hoped "if we are able to provide a little amount of joy to you guys in these testing times, that will give a sense of satisfaction and happiness to us."
Ashwin is in the bubble with his wife and two daughters. He also said all the players and staff members had received at least one dose of the vaccine while he got his second dose of Covaxin in April-end when the IPL was still on.
The BCCI is now planning to conduct the remainder of the 2021 IPL in the UAE in the September-October window but it may clashing with the CPL and international cricket, with the T20 World Cup scheduled to start from mid-October.