This Indian cricketer, now in UK, is a COVID saviour for masses back home

Ace cricketer builds team to help patients get access to oxygen, plasma, medicines and other resources

Hanuma Vihari, Test Cricket, South Africa Tour of India, INDvSA, Indian Test Team
Hanuma Vihari uses his social media following to amplify requests for help.

The two Cs currently ruling Hanuma Vihari’s life are cricket and COVID.

The 27-year-old international cricketer from Andhra Pradesh has been making waves in the citizen activism sphere, joining scores of youngsters in helping COVID patients get access to hospital beds, ventilators, essential drugs, plasma and other resources.

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Like several other celebrities who have been unstintingly helping out at this critical juncture, as the nation and its billion people battle the second wave of COVID, Vihari uses his social media following to amplify requests for help. For this, he ensures his phone is well within his reach when he is not playing — be it a match or a practice session.

Endless requests

At present in the UK for the ongoing County Championship, Vihari gets endless requests for help with medical resources.

For the cricketer, action does not stop with just retweets. He has formed a team of about 100 volunteers who man a WhatsApp group to cater to requests from patients and their attendants.

“I thought I have to use the followers on my social media in the best way I can,” he said in a recent interview to India Today. “It started slowly. I tried to interact with people. I realised a lot of people are in need of a lot of things.”

“I put a post on Instagram. I am very fortunate that most of my followers joined me. We are close to 100 people in our WhatsApp group. We try to solve every problem of the patients; if we can’t solve it in our group, I post it on social media,” he added. The volunteer group includes his wife, sister and some of his Andhra teammates, too.

Hands-on assistance

Vihari went on to say he looks to balance cricket with COVID relief, not only in Andhra Pradesh, but the rest of the country as well.

While several cricketers, including India’s Test captain Virat Kohli, have offered financial aid for COVID relief, Vihari is earning high praise for being ‘on the job’. People on Instagram and Twitter have been quick to note his efforts.

But the man remains modest. “I don’t want to glorify myself. I am doing it with the intention of helping people at the ground level, who actually need every help possible in these difficult times. It is just the start,” he told PTI in an interview.

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