Home Sport IPL suspension sparks scramble to get international players home

IPL suspension sparks scramble to get international players home


After numerous positive Covid-19 cases discovered within the IPL bubble, the BCCI had quickly suspended the cricket tournament leaving many players, staff and commentators stranded in India.

Picture: Chuttersnap/Unsplash

THE Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had insisted the Indian Premier League (IPL) would continue as planned up until the sudden suspension of the massive cricket tournament following the discovery of various players and staff testing positive for Covid-19 within its bio-bubble.

BCCI Vice President, Rajeev Shukla said on Tuesday, that the IPL had been suspended but could continue the 14th edition of the tournament this year. “The remaining part of this year’s IPL will happen. But in due course, when the Covid situation improves, a decision will be taken about it.”

The Covid-19 surge continues to rage in India who recently faced a record of 3 780 Covid-19 deaths in a single day on Tuesday, 4 May 4, and a record of 401 993 Covid-19 cases on Friday, April 30.

The outbreak lead to many countries adding India to its “red list” banning international travel to and from the country since the later half of April. This has become a problem for as many as 57 international players according to Reuters, many of which are from Australia, England and South Africa.

“Few players wanted to leave the country. They had spoken to their franchisees and the franchisees also confided with us. But not many players were willing to leave the country.

“But keeping that in mind, and obviously, there is a panic-like situation, if people are scared, we have to look at that aspect also and we have to take steps accordingly,“ said Shukla.

Various national cricket associations are working towards getting their players home safely, with Cricket South Africa (CSA) ensuring the safe return of South African players and staff in a statement released on Tuesday.

However, for some players, getting home may not be as easy as others with a joint statement released from Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers’ Association which confirmed that they would not seek any exemptions on the countries travel ban from India imposed by the government.

“CA is in direct contact with the BCCI as they work through plans to ensure the safe accommodation and repatriation of Australian players, coaches, match and officials and commentator back home to Australia,” it said on Tuesday.

Although the Australian governments travel ban from India remains in place until until May 15, CA said on Wednesday that they are, however, working on arrangements to bring the group of 38 players, coaches and staff back home from India safely as soon as possible.

Nick Hockley, CA chief executive said, “What we and the BCCI are working to do is to move the entire cohort out of India, where they will then wait until it’s possible to return to Australia.”

Which may serve as a workaround the travel ban, as Australia’s borders remain closed to travel directly from India.

“The BCCI has been working on a range of options. That’s now narrowed down to the Maldives and Sri Lanka. The BCCI are working through the final details of that at the moment and we expect that movement will happen in the next two to three days.”