IPL players leave amid Covid-19 concerns
Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson have joined fellow Australian Andrew Tye in ending their Indian Premier League (IPL) season early to return home. India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, 34, also said he is taking a break from the IPL to support his family.
The news comes as India struggles with a surge in coronavirus cases.
Tye, who was with Rajasthan Royals, flew to Sydney on Sunday, 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,” the seamer told Australian radio station SEN.
England limited overs captain Eoin Morgan, who is skipper of Kolkata Knight Riders, says the tournament should continue as long as it does not hamper the efforts to combat Covid-19. “… you can play sport while the country is almost in full lockdown … as long as it doesn’t disturb what’s happening in the public eye.”
Morgan added that the players are aware of the rising cases in India. “We’re constantly talking about the situation that is unfolding outside of our bubble,” he added. “It’s not nice watching from afar, considering how lucky we are to be in a bubble and not be affected by it very much.”
India has been reporting more than 300,000 daily cases for several days, setting new daily global records. On Monday, it had the highest number of daily coronavirus cases for a fifth straight day, reporting 352,991 new infections and another 2,812 deaths in the previous 24-hour period.
Meanwhile, Kolkata Knight Riders’ paceman Pat Cummins has asked his fellow players to join him in contributing to help India’s hospitals deal with the pandemic. Cummins, 27, who is among a number of Australia’s top players to remain in India, has pledged 50,000 Australian dollars (£28,006) to the PM Cares Fund, specifically to purchase oxygen supplies.
“There has been quite a bit of discussion over here as to whether it is appropriate for the IPL to continue with Covid-19 infection rates remain high. I’m advised that the Indian Government is of the view that playing the IPL while the population is in lockdown provides a few hours of joy and respite each day at an otherwise difficult time for the country.”
Cummins said he hoped that “by making this public appeal we can all channel our emotions into action that will bring light into people’s lives”.
Australia has avoided the worst of Covid-19 by closing its borders and installing snap lockdowns – such as a three-day lockdown in Perth, announced before the weekend – when cases of community transmission occured.