New Delhi, April 27
The Indian cricket board (BCCI) has attempted to calm the frayed nerves of foreign cricketers — especially from Australia — who are playing for various teams in the IPL and are worried about being locked out of their countries due to the alarming Covid-19 crisis in India.
The Australian government today suspend air flights from India to their country, with prime minister Scott Morrison asking the players to make their “own arrangements” for return.
The fear of being locked out of Australia made Andrew Tye take a flight back home yesterday. Two other Australians, Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa, exited their team Royal Challengers Bangalore’s bio-bubble in preparation for leaving for their country.
“We understand that many of you are apprehensive about how you will get back home once the tournament concludes… We want to apprise you that you have nothing to worry about,” BCCI chief operating officer Hemang Amin said in a letter to the players.
“The BCCI will do everything to ensure that you reach your respective destinations seamlessly. The BCCI is monitoring the situation very closely and is working with the government authorities to make arrangements to get you home once the tournament concludes,” he added. “Be rest assured that the tournament is not over for BCCI till each one of you has reached your home, safe and sound.”
Joy amid gloom
The devastation brought by the Covid-19 virus has led to the crumbling of India’s health infrastructure, which is struggling to deal with over 300,000 new daily cases and over 2,000 daily fatalities.
This has led to discussions over whether it’s appropriate for the IPL to continue in this time of crisis.
Amin, however, lauded the players for carrying on and giving some joy to the people amid the gloom.
“When you all walk out onto the field, you are bringing hope to millions of people who have tuned in,” he wrote. “While you are professionals and will play to win, this time you are also playing for something much more important.” — Agencies
Clear no by Aussie PM
Chris Lynn of Mumbai Indians has expressed faint hope that Cricket Australia might arrange a chartered flight for Aussie cricketers who are staying on to play in the IPL. “I texted back that as Cricket Australia make 10 per cent of every IPL contract was there a chance we could spend that money this year on a charter flight once the tournament is over?” Lynn said to Australian media. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison ruled out any government assistance, however. “They have travelled there privately. This wasn’t part of an Australian tour. They’re under their own resources and they’ll be using those resources too, I’m sure, to see them return to Australia in accordance with their own arrangements,” Morrison said.
14 Aussies still in IPL
After the pullout of three players, the IPL currently has 14 Australian players, including big names like Steve Smith (Delhi Capitals), David Warner (Sunrisers Hyderabad) and Pat Cummins (Kolkata Knight Riders) Ricky Ponting (Delhi Capitals) and Simon Katich (Royal Challengers Bangalore) are among the high-profile Australian coaches still at the IPL. Former players such as Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee and Lisa Sthalekar are part of the commentary team.