IPL 2021: Travelling back home small issue compared to Covid situation, says Ponting

Filed on April 28, 2021
Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Virat Kohli with Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting after their IPL match in Ahmedabad. (BCCI)

Australia on Tuesday suspended all direct passenger flights from India until May 15

Australian players might be a bit apprehensive following the suspension of flights from India, but Delhi Capitals' head coach Ricky Ponting said it's a ‘small issue’ compared to the chaos triggered by the second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Australia on Tuesday suspended all direct passenger flights from India until May 15 due to the ‘very significant’ spike in Covid-19 cases in India.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also made it clear that cricketers competing in the IPL will have to make their ‘own arrangements’ to return home.

"There have been revelations that our government has made as far as Australians in India returning to Australia. No doubt there have been few distractions, but the travel side for us and Australians who are here is only a small issue," Ponting said in a virtual press conference after his side lost to Royal Challengers Bangalore by one run.

"On daily basis, we are thinking about what's happening outside and we understand how blessed we are to be doing what we are doing. Hopefully, there are a number of people in India who got enjoyment by watching IPL cricket."

Three Australian players have exited the tournament amid the escalating health crisis, while Mumbai Indians batsman Chris Lynn requested Cricket Australia to arrange for a charter flight to take them home after the event is over.

The BCCI has already assured that it will make arrangements for the return of the foreign players once the tournament ends.

A second wave of Covid-19 pandemic has swept India and the country is recording over 300,000 daily cases for the past few days, leaving the health infrastructure in shambles.

In the wake of the unprecedented health crisis, India and Delhi Capitals spinner Ravichandran Ashwin decided to take a break from the tournament to be with his family.

"It is a really strange feeling amongst our team right now. We are very aware of what's happening outside and in India at the moment. Obviously, our hearts go out to every single person that's struggling with Covid-19 in the Indian society," Ponting said.

"We have had our one player leave as well, Ravichandran Ashwin left to be with his family so that is affecting, we are talking about it more than most teams are."

On the one-run defeat to RCB, Ponting said, "Our last game went to a Super Over and against RCB, we lost by one run. That can only hold you in good stead when the bigger comes at the backend. We have got three games in four days, we have to take our learnings.

"The team is disappointed but also proud how boys fought. We will not overanalyse."

Delhi will next take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

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