Former Australia batsman and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) assistant coach Mike Hussey shared the trauma he experienced after contracting COVID-19 during the first leg of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 in India. The CSK batting coach along with bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji tested positive in May this year, just before the IPL 2021 was suspended due to rising COVID-19 cases in India.
“The Chennai Super Kings medical staff were pretty darn good,” Hussey was quoted as saying by SEN WA’s on Gilly & Goss. “They were a little bit concerned if my condition went south, and I started to deteriorate, that they couldn’t get me the medical support that I needed. There were so many cases in Delhi, and we were getting reports there were 100 hospital beds available with oxygen for the whole of Delhi.
“And 10,000 people in Delhi lined up around the streets trying to get into these hospitals to get the medical support they needed,” the former Australia southpaw added.
The franchise made the call to relocate Hussey and the bowling coach to Chennai from the Mumbai bio-bubble, where they felt he would have greater access to care. The 46-year-old revealed that he was woken up at six in the morning and asked to pull on a full set of personal protective equipment (PPE) to complete the transfer.
“I jumped in the back of this ambulance and they said, ‘we’ve got to transport you’, in what I would describe as a clear body bag,” Hussey revealed. “This is when I start pinching myself. ‘Is this a bad dream or is this really happening?’
“Sure enough, they slide me into this body bag, and they zip it up, and that was the moment where it hit home and I started to fear the most. I’m not good in small spaces at the best of times. I had to basically lie in this plane for four hours on the trip from Delhi down to Chennai, then get shipped from an ambulance to the quarantine hotel and spend another couple of weeks there.”
Hussey may have been spared the severity of his illness, had Australia’s vaccine rollout progressed at a swifter pace. “I was trying to get vaccinated before I left for the IPL but I wasn’t eligible with my age, so I couldn’t,” Hussey said.
“And then we were trying to get vaccinated over there but in India things sometimes don’t get organised as well as we would have liked. We couldn’t get it done.”
Hussey didn’t fear for his life, despite the destruction unfolding around him along with the possibility he wouldn’t have access to greater care if his health worsened. “I had a pretty bad fever for the first three or four days, I had a barking cough, I felt like I had a really bad head cold, and just… fatigue,” he recalled.
“I’d be in my room and say, ‘I’ll go and lie down for a couple of minutes’, and wake up two and a half hours later. It was more scary for my family back home. They were more worried about me than I was. My main focus was getting better, I knew I had to rest and ride it out. I felt like ‘I’ll be alright,’ seeing people doing it a lot tougher than I felt like I was,” the CSK coach said.
IPL 2021 will now resume in the United Arab Emirates on September 19 with MS Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings taking on Rohit Sharma-led Mumbai Indians.