Indian women team’s swashbuckling middle-order batter Veda Krishnamurthy’s elder sister passed away Thursday evening in Chikmagalur due to complications related to Covid-19, two weeks after her mother had also succumbed to the virus.

Veda’s sister Vatsala Shivakumar, 42, was hospitalised last month, after a RT-PCR test returned positive.

“It is with great sadness that last night my family had to say goodbye to My Akka My family, my world has been rocked to its core. Appreciate all the messages and prayers. My thoughts with everyone going through these devastating times. Hold your loved ones tight and stay safe,” Veda tweeted.

According to Veda’s childhood coach Irfan Sait, Vatsala’s demise, coming closely on the heels of her mother Cheluvamaba Devi’s death had “completely broken” the 28-year-old.

In fact, Vatsala had a major role to play in Veda making it big as an international cricketer. “After Vatsala’s husband passed away in 2003 in a road accident, she and 12-year-old Veda migrated from Chikmagalur to Bengaluru to fuel her younger sibling’s cricketing aspirations,” Sait told The Indian Express.

In Bengaluru, Vatsala got her sister enrolled at Karnataka Institute of Cricket in Shivaji Nagar. Under the tutelage of Sait, Veda honed her skills and progressed to represent India’s women’s team at the international level.

“Vatsala’s presence gave her (Veda) strength. She realised the potential in her sister, and shifted to Bengaluru because back then, there were hardly any opportunities for an upcoming woman cricketer at her hometown in Chikmagalur. Without Vatsala’s efforts, Indian women’s team would not have had a player of Veda’s calibre,” Sait explained.

Sait conceded that he was overwhelmed with emotions after his condolence call to Veda on Thursday afternoon.

“When I called her today, she only said, ‘Nothing is making any sense to me anymore.’ I pray to God that she finds the inner strength to come to terms with this loss,” he concluded.

Veda has gone through hell over the last fortnight. But that has not prevented her from reaching out to others on social media during these grim times and helping them in their quest to procure oxygen supplies, ventilators and hospital beds.

Making her debut in 2011, Veda has featured in 48 ODIs and 76 T20Is for India, and was an integral part of the team that played in the final of the 2017 Women’s World Cup against England at Lord’s. Veda is also amongst the select group of women’s cricketers from India who have participated in franchise cricket abroad.