IPL assures overseas players of safe return home
- IPL has assured all franchises, players, support staff and commentators that their safe exit from the bio bubble back home would be taken care of by the BCCI once the tournament was over.
Indian Premier League Chief Operating Officer Hemang Amin has written to all its stakeholders – franchises, players, support staff and commentators that their safe exit from the bio bubble back home would be taken care of by the BCCI once the tournament was over.
The IPL is being played in a cluster caravan format and is presently in its second phase, with Ahmedabad and Delhi playing hosts, even as the world's most severe outbreak of Covid-19 has engulfed India.
“We understand that many of you are apprehensive about how you will get back home once the tournament concludes, which is natural and understandable. We want to apprise you that you have nothing to worry about,” Amin wrote. “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 the government authorities to make arrangements to get you home once the tournament concludes. Be rest assured that the tournament is not over for BCCI till each one of you has reached your home, safe and sound.”
There have been growing concerns amongst Australian cricketers after Australia suspended all direct passenger flights from India until May 15. Australian PM Scott Morrison made it clear that the players would have to make their own way home since they were not on national duty.
"They have travelled there privately. This wasn't part of an Australian tour. They're under their own resources and they'll be using those resources too, I'm sure, to see them return to Australia in accordance with our own arrangements,” he said on Tuesday. Batsman Chris Lynn, who plays for Mumbai Indians, had publicly requested Cricket Australia to facilitate their travel home once the tournament was over.
Amid calls for discontinuing the league given the severity of the health situation in the country, the league COO also made it clear in the communication that the IPL will continue.
“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," Amin wrote. "While you are professionals and will play to win, this time you are also playing for something much more important…. humanity.”
Players like Ravichandran Ashwin, Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson, Andrew Tye and Liam Livingstone have opted out of the tournament recently. Ashwin left to attend to his Covid affected family while others have cited bubble fatigue and "personal" reasons.
“We completely respect the decision taken by the players and extend our support to them in every way,” the letter said.
Amin also elaborated on measures that were being taken to strengthen the bio bubble arrangements.
“Recently, we increased testing in our bio-bubbles to be extra vigilant. Instead of the stipulated test every five days, we now conduct a test every two days. Further, earlier in the tournament, we had permitted food deliveries from outside your designated hotels, but these privileges have also been withdrawn. Apart from this, we have also increased our level of caution to strengthen our bio-bubbles. I am sure you will understand and co-operate with us on these steps taken to strengthen the bubble,” he wrote.
A major tournament being played while a country grapples with Covid-19 and has extensive lockdowns in place happened last year when the Premier league continued through the second round of Covid infections in UK. England and KKR captain Eoin Morgan cited that example in his press talk on Monday. “Certainly, there’s a template to make that happen, it has happened. But also, as long as it doesn’t disturb what’s happening in the public eye,” Morgan said.
The BCCI, the world's richest cricket board, has come in for criticism for not acknowledging the covid-19 situation in India or helping in any way at the moment, including simple things like public messaging.