Indian cricketer Veda Krishnamurthy said she was completely destroyed after the death of her mother and sister due to Covid-19 and stressed on the importance of mental health assistance in crisis situations.

Veda’s sister Vatsala Shivakumar had died due to Covid-19, as the 42-year-old had suffered severe lung infection as a result of Covid-19-induced pneumonia. She had earlier lost her mother Cheluvamba Devi. The 67-year-old died in Kadur. On April 24, the Bengaluru-based cricketer, who has represented India in 48 ODIs and 76 T20s, had tweeted that her family was lost without her.

“We’re all trying to come to terms with the tragedy, trying to accept the reality right now, and reminding ourselves that whatever has happened is behind us now,” Veda wrote in an as-told-to article on ESPNCricinfo.

Recounting the series of events that affected multiple members in her family, Veda — who herself tested negative — said her mother and sister were a huge part of her life, and it didn’t matter to them how she played, she was their favourite cricketer.

“I’m a big believer in what destiny holds for you, but I really hoped that my sister would come back home. When she didn’t, I was completely destroyed. All of us were broken to pieces. And I still had to put up a brave face for the rest of the family. What I had to do in those testing couple of weeks was learn to tune myself out of my grief. But it keeps coming back to haunt you.”

About her sister, Veda added: “She was my No. 1 fan. She watched most of my games. She used to be there at the ground, bringing me and my friends biryani in big boxes. I don’t know how it’s going to be when I get back on the field knowing she’s no longer around.”

Veda wrote about the importance of discussions around mental health.

“A lot of people who are playing cricket currently know what mental health is, but it is also important to accept that if the system is not doing anything to offer you mental-health assistance, you can and must find the support for yourself if you can afford it. I’ve had mental-health issues and I’ve sought support to resolve them myself,” she said.

The all-rounder, who has been helping others through her social media by amplifying their requests for aid, said she felt it was the right thing to do with her social media reach.

“Even when my mom was critical, I carried on with the retweets because I felt it was what I should be doing because of my social-media reach,” she said.

“I’m thankful to all the people who retweeted that request [for an injection] I put out on Twitter - Harman [Harmanpreet Kaur], Smriti [Mandhana], Mithali [Raj], Mona [Meshram], Reema [Malhotra], and a lot of other cricketers,” the 28-year-old added.

Veda said she has been mostly off her phone in regards to speaking with people about how she has been been holding up.

“I thank everyone who checked on me. I did get a call from the BCCI secretary, which I didn’t expect, to be honest. He asked about me, my family. He said when he is in Bangalore, he will visit me. It was nice of him to call me,” she added.

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