Ahead of the first Test match against West Indies earlier this week, the England cricketers wore jerseys with names of the health workers who are at the forefront in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
All the members of the England squad wore the names during the training sessions ahead of the first day of the game. One of the names was that of Dr. Vikas Kumar, who works at the critical care unit of a National Health Service (NHS) trust hospital at Darlington in Durham. Kumar is a Delhi University alumni, and has a post-graduate diploma in anaesthesia from Maulana Azad Medical College. He went to England in 2019 with his family, where he also plays cricket for amateur clubs near Newcastle.
England's captain for the match and the side's World Cup hero, Ben Stokes wore his name on the jersey. In an interview with the Indian Express, Kumar expressed his delight on the same.
“It was overwhelming to see Stokes and others putting that message out. It’s been very difficult for all of us. NHS staff have made a lot of sacrifices. This recognition is for the entire medical fraternity, including my doctor friends in India,” said Kumar.
“I was a cricket fan, and played for my medical college, but all my family members were into studies. So I had to become a doctor like my brothers."
He also talked about his specialisation and opened up on his family life.
“As anaesthetists, we have to oversee every emergency case, apart from being a part of emergency surgeries and securing breathing tubes, which is considered a high-risk aerosol-generating procedure. I was in self-isolation at home, with my wife Smita Rashmi, who is a medical writer, taking care of our son Viraaj who would throw tantrums to spend time with me,” he said.
Ben Stokes had earlier released a video message for Kumar, which was posted by the official account of England Cricket on Twitter.
“Hi Vikas, a big thanks for everything you have done throughout this pandemic. I want to wish you a happy return to cricket, all the best mate, get as many runs and wickets as you can," Stokes had said.