For Indian-origin doctor Vikas Kumar, last few days have been full of pride and excitement.

And why not? His name got featured on the back of the training jersey of England captain Ben Stokes, on the resumption of international cricket after 117 days.

England is currently playing a Test series against West Indies and it was decided that the names of the medics will be put on the back of the shirts to honour their contributions and sacrifices.

Vikas, who is an anaesthetist and a cricket enthusiast, was very happy about it and dedicated this to all the doctors around the world, including his ‘friends in India’.

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.

The reason behind his excitement can also be attributed to the fact that he himself wanted to be a cricketer and used to play for his medical college.

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.

However, his cricket stint was limited to being appointed as ‘doctor on duty’ during an India vs Sri Lanka match in 2017.

Kumar completed his graduation from Delhi University and then did his post-graduate diploma in anaesthesia from Maulana Azad Medical College.

He then shifted to England in 2019 and now plays for the local Gilli Boys Amateur Club and Cowgate Cricket Club in nearby Newcastle.

Speaking about the current crisis, Vikas noted:

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.

Along with him, three other Indian-origin healthcare workers found their names on the jerseys of players during the series. This includes Dr Jamasp Kaikhusroo Dastur, Harikrishna Shah and Krishan Aghada.

Meanwhile Vikas is now planning to sell off the shirt to raise funds for the NHS.