Priya Punia's mother succumbs to COVID-19

India cricketer Priya's mother Saroj was admitted to the hospital after contracting the virus, and was put on the ventilator but her condition worsened on Tuesday.

Punia is part of the Indian team that will tour England for a one-off Test and limited-overs series.   -  FILE PHOTO/VIJAY SONEJI

India cricketer Priya Punia’s mother, Saroj, succumbed to COVID-19 at the Sawai Mansingh Hospital in Jaipur late on Monday. 

While this is a challenging time for her and the family, Punia - who is part of the Indian team that will tour England for a one-off Test and limited-overs series - has decided to travel to Mumbai on Wednesday and go into the 14-day quarantine, along with her other team-mates.

“My mother always wanted me to play for the country and she was really excited with my selection to the Indian team for the England tour. So, I will travel to Mumbai from Jaipur tomorrow and go into quarantine. These are tough times for sure, but my mom always wanted me to focus on my game, and I will do that even now,” the 24-year-old Punia told Sportstar on Tuesday.

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“We cannot change whatever has happened. But I can only concentrate on my job and ensure that I deliver the goods. That’s what even my mom wanted,” she said.

Her father Surendra Punia motivated her with stories of Virat Kohli - who went on to play Ranji Trophy fixture for Delhi despite her father’s death. “We discussed that. It is also important to stay strong. She always wanted my success and so I decided to go ahead with the tour and make her happy,” Punia said.

After contracting the virus a few days ago, Saroj was recovering, but her condition deteriorated due to the scarcity in oxygen supply. “She was fine, but yesterday, the oxygen supply was low, so that’s when things worsened. All of us tried arranging for oxygen cylinders and other efforts were also taken, but we could not save her,” Surendra said.

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“Her mom was very happy with Priya’s selection to the team, so I have told her to be strong. If she stays strong, it will be good for her. She has an important tour coming up, and that should be the focus now,” Surendra said.

The Indian women’s team will leave for England on June 2 and will play a lone Test and a limited-overs series. 

After making her debut in February 2019, the youngster has so far featured in seven ODIs and three T20Is.

Mithali, Sthalekar offer condolences

The women's cricket fraternity, including India ODI captain Mithali Raj, extended its condolences to Punia.

Also posting her condolences was former Australian women's team captain Lisa Sthalekar.

 

Another national teammate of Punia, Punam Raut also tweeted her condolence message for the 24-year-old Punia.

 

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