Australians in IPL ‘anxious’ about getting home but not looking for ‘free rides’ amid India’s Covid crisis

Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson remain in India, with Australia suspending flights from the Asian country, which recorded 323,144 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday

Ian Ransom
Wednesday 28 April 2021 10:52
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Adam Zampa and teammate Kane Richardson are still in India for the IPL
Adam Zampa and teammate Kane Richardson are still in India for the IPL

Australian cricketers are “anxious” about how they will get home from the Indian Premier League due to the escalating Covid-19 crisis in India, the head of the players’ union said on Wednesday.

While Australian Cricketers’ Association Chief Executive Todd Greenberg maintained that the players are absolutely not after “free rides”.

There have been three Australian players to pull out of the IPL but Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson remain stranded due to Australia’s decision to suspend flights from the Asian nation until 15 May.

Nearly 40 Australians remain involved in the IPL as players, coaches, officials and commentators, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison said they would not be allowed to jump the queue whenever repatriation flights resume.

The regular IPL season ends on May 23, with playoffs to follow before the final on May 30.

“As you’d imagine, they’re all pretty anxious,” Greenberg told Sydney radio station 2GB.

“They’re in probably one of the biggest hotspots that we’ve seen since COVID so we’re just trying to make sure that they’re all safe and secure and they can fulfil their commitments and ... we can get them home as soon as we can.”

India recorded 323,144 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and 2,771 deaths, taking the total death toll to 197,894, but the IPL is ploughing on despite the health crisis.

Former Australia fast bowler Andrew Tye, who was with the Rajasthan Royals, flew home over the weekend but compatriots Zampa and Richardson, teammates for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, had been unable to exit India, Greenberg confirmed.

“They’re in a difficult position so we’ve got to try to find out some more information this morning,” he said.

Batsman Chris Lynn, who plays for Mumbai Indians, said this week he had asked governing body Cricket Australia (CA) to arrange a charter flight to bring players home after IPL ends.

Greenberg said the players union was in “conversations” with CA and authorities about that option and would also look to work with IPL club owners on players’ travel arrangements.

“Our players are under no expectations for looking for specific favours ... There’s no free rides,” he said.

“What we’re trying to do is work really closely with Cricket Australia ... and with government, just trying to get all the right information so we can fill them with some confidence that they will be taken care of at the right time.”

Zampa said his decision to cut his IPL season short was about prioritising mental health over money.

“I feel like for anyone leaving halfway through a tournament, it’s definitely a financial sacrifice,” the 29-year-old told Nine Network newspapers. “But from my point of view I wanted to put my mental health first.”

“Obviously the COVID situation over here is pretty dire.

“(There were) a few other things like bubble fatigue and the chance to get home, once all the news broke about the flights and everything.”

CA said late on Tuesday it would continue to “liaise” with the Australian government and monitor the situation.

Reuters

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