The BCCI on Tuesday (April 27) said it will do everything to ensure that foreign players competing in IPL 2021 reach their respective countries when the tournament ends, a day after three Australians quit the event amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in India, reports PTI.
Andrew Tye (Rajasthan Royals), Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa (both Royal Challengers Bangalore) withdrew two weeks into the tournament, being held in front of empty stands across six venues.
“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 CEO Hemang Amin said in a letter addressed 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 government authorities to make arrangements to get you home once the tournament concludes.
“Be rest assured that the tournament is not over for the BCCI till each one of you has reached your home, safe and sound,” he said.
India is recording over 3 lakh daily cases for the past few days and the health infrastructure is struggling, with shortage of oxygen and some crucial medicines adding to the crisis.
Australia on Tuesday suspended all direct passenger flights from India with immediate effect until May 15 due to the “very significant” spike in COVID-19 cases.
Kolkata Knight Riders mentor Daivid Hussey acknowledged that Australians in the IPL are a “bit nervous” about getting back home.
Amin lauded the players for carrying on. “As some of you have said, ‘If we can help distract people from all the troubles of recent times, even if it is for a short while, we have done a great job.’ When you all walk out onto the field, you are bringing hope to millions of people who have tuned in.”
“If, even for a minute, you can bring a smile on someone’s face, then you have done well. While you are professionals and will play to win, this time you are also playing for something much more important,” he said.
Several England and New Zealand players are also competing in the event but haven’t yet spoken about their concerns.
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association released a joint statement saying that they are in constant touch with their players, coaches, match officials and commentators in India and are keeping a close tab on the current situation.
“Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association are in regular dialogue with players, coaches, match officials and commentators on the ground in India regarding the current situation and we will assist where possible,” read the statement.
The Australian government on Tuesday stopped all direct passenger flights from India until May 15 with immediate effect.
Reacting on the development, the two bodies said they will “continue to liaise closely” with the Australian government and monitor the situation between now and May 30 when the tournament ends.
“We will continue to liaise closely with the Australian Government following today’s announcement that direct flights from India to Australia will be paused until May 15, and monitor the situation between now and the tournament’s scheduled conclusion on May 30.
“We thank the BCCI and IPL for their efforts to keep everyone safe in the tournament’s bio-secure bubble,” it concluded.
The IPL final is scheduled to be held on May 30 in Ahmedabad.
As many as 14 Australian players remain in the event, including stars such as Steve Smith (DC), David Warner (SunRisers Hyderabad) and Pat Cummins (Kolkata Knight Riders), as well as coaches Ricky Ponting (DC) and Simon Katich (RCB).
Commentators Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee, Michael Slater and Lisa Sthalekar are also among the Australians involved with the league right now.