IPL 2021: Zampa, Richardson latest to leave Covid-tainted event
The IPL has attracted criticism for continuing even as India's health care system reels from 350,000 daily infections
Two Australian cricketers became the latest to pull out of the Indian Premier League on Monday as pressure grows on the tournament following a devastating coronavirus surge.
The IPL has attracted criticism for continuing even as India’s health care system reels from 350,000 daily infections and almost 3,000 deaths a day from the virus.
Australia leg-spinner Adam Zampa and fast bowler Kane Richardson have joined compatriot Andrew Tye in cutting short their IPL season and heading home as India struggles with a massive surge in Covid-19 cases.
Tye, who was with the Rajasthan Royals, flew to Sydney on Sunday via Mumbai and Doha, citing the ‘stress of bubble life’ and concerns about borders closing in Australia.
“I just thought I should try and get on the front foot and get home before I got locked out of the country,” he told Australian radio station SEN.
“I think I’ve had 11 days at home and out of the bubble since August.
“There’s definitely concerns,” Tye added. “A lot of guys have been in touch today once they’ve realised I was leaving.
“Some of the guys are very interested in what route I took home and how I approached it.
“I’m not sure if I’ll be the only one (returning), but that’s too early for me to say.”
Zampa and Richardson have now decided to follow suit, with Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday saying they were unavailable for the rest of the IPL season and were returning to Australia for “personal reasons”.
“Royal Challengers Bangalore management respects their decision and offers them complete support,” the franchise said on Twitter.
A number of Australia’s top cricketers remain in India, including batsmen Steve Smith and David Warner, and paceman Pat Cummins.
India reported 349,691 new cases on Sunday, the fourth straight day of record peaks. Hospitals in Delhi and across the country are turning away patients after running out of medical oxygen and beds.
Australia said last week it would cut flights from India and reduce the number of its citizens able to return from other red-zone countries to contain the risk of more virulent strains of Covid-19 spreading.
Australia has largely eliminated Covid-19 by closing its borders and installing snap lockdowns when cases of community transmission occur.
‘DOOM AND GLOOM’
Governing body Cricket Australia and the Australian players union said they were in “regular contact” with Australian players, coaches and commentators at the IPL.
“We will continue to listen to feedback from those on the ground in India and the advice of the Australian government,” the bodies said in a joint statement.
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who coaches the IPL’s Delhi Capitals, suggested he would not be among those to pull out of the league.
“Even with the country being in a situation that it is, I think cricket can still bring a lot of joy to people,” he said in comments published by ESPNCricinfo.
“So it is important for us to be doing what we can as cricketers and as coaches and as a franchise to putting on the best show as possible to give the people something that they’d like to see.”
Organisers have said they will push on with the tournament amid growing criticism. An IPL governing council member told Reuters on Sunday the league provided a “much-needed distraction from all the doom and gloom”.
Meanwhile, senior Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has decided to take a break from the ongoing IPL, saying that his family is currently 'putting up a fight against Covid-19' and he wants to support them.
The 34-year-old is competing for the Delhi Capitals this season and hopes to return to the side 'if things go in the right direction'.
"I would be taking a break from this years IPL from tomorrow. My family and extended family are putting up a fight against #COVID19 and I want to support them during these tough times," Ashwin posted on his Twitter page after DC's game against SunRisers Hyderabad on Sunday night.
"I expect to return to play if things go in the right direction. Thank you @DelhiCapitals," added the Chennai-based player.
It is learnt, that a very close member of his family has tested positive for the dreaded virus.
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