Pune: India is battling a tough phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, with around 3.5 lakh daily cases. The pandemic which had a worst impact on sports can be seen making its mark this year also.
Amidst the rising cases, cricket fans are witnessing a cricket extravaganza in the form of IPL (Indian Premier League). IPL which was played in UAE last year amid the coronavirus outbreak in India, returned to its homeland this year. Unfortunately, the 14th season of the cricket fiesta is looming under dark clouds of COVID-19.
Several cricketers are looking to leave the IPL 2021 due to fears that they will be locked of their respective country following rising cases in India. It has been a big surprise because the players have pulled out in the mid-way of the tournament which seems to be an arduous task for the franchise owner now to find their replacements. Many IPL clubs have witnessed senior players leaving the tournament citing COVID-19.
Here we take a look at list of players who pulled out of IPL 2021 due to COVID-19 scare:
India off-spinner R Ashwin, who was key-bowler for Delhi Capitals (DC), on Sunday decided to take a ‘break’ from the ongoing tournament since he wants to be with his family during the tiring times of pandemic. It appears that certain member(s) of his family have contracted the infection.
"I would be taking a break from this year's IPL from tomorrow. My family and extended family are putting up a fight against #COVID19 and I want to support them during these tough times," he tweeted after his franchise defeated SunRisers Hyderabad in the Super Over at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday night. He, however, said that he hopes to return if things go in the right direction. "I expect to return to play if things go in the right direction. Thank you @DelhiCapitals," the 34-year-old added in the tweet.
Ashwin has played five matches and managed just one wicket this season at an average of 147 at an economy rate of 7.73.
Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson
Another Australians in the list are Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson returned home from the IPL 2021 for ‘personal reasons’. The duo’s franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) issued a statement on Monday.
"Adam Zampa & Kane Richardson are returning to Australia for personal reasons and will be unavailable for the remainder of #IPL2021. Royal Challengers Bangalore management respects their decision and offers them complete support," said RCB in their tweet. Fast bowler Richardson only took part in one match this season in which he took one wicket while the spinner Zampa departed without a single game.
Another Australian, Andrew Tye is in the list too. Rajasthan Royals pacer went back home to Australia due to personal reasons, the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise stated on Sunday.
"AJ Tye flew back to Australia earlier today due to personal reasons. We will continue to offer any support he may need.#RoyalsFamily," said RR in a tweet on Sunday. Tye, who was a Purple Cap holder in 2018, hadn't played in any of RR's games and played just one match last season. He ended up conceding 50 runs in four overs.
Mitchell Marsh also pulled out of the IPL 2021 considering the amount of fatigue in the bio bubble. The Australian all-rounder was expected to make an impact with his brilliant performances in Australia for his franchise SunRisers Hyderabad.
So far, he has played for various clubs in the IPL scoring 225 runs in 21 matches and has also scalped 20 wickets in his career. He played only one game in 2020 and had to miss the entire remaining tournament due to injury. Jason Roy has been named as his replacement by the Hyderabad club.
The Australian pacer Josh Hazlewood pulled out of the IPL 2021 from representing the Chennai Super Kings citing bio bubble fatigue. The right-arm fast bowler would have been very handy for the CSK this year considering that they played their first few games in Mumbai.
His replacement was declared and it was country mate Jason Beherendoff who has already played in IPL. Hazlewood who hits the line and lengths to perfection failed to impress in the shorter format.
England’s Liam Livingstone also left the Rajasthan Royals (RR) franchise suddenly due to the bio bubble fatigue. Livingstone who was benched for the first three games was expected to make the playing XI courtesy his recent T20 knocks.
The all-rounder’s withdrawal is a big worry for the Royals who have already lost the services of the injured Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer and they will need to pick up a new replacement who can play the same roles.
Multiple cricketers are looking to leave the biggest domestic cricket tournament due to COVID-19 fear.
The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) on Monday also reported that many Australian players are 'nervous about securing safe passage back home after their government reduced the number of incoming passengers allowed from India'.
Meanwhile, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on its part, claimed that the tournament will continue and it wouldn't come in the way of those wanting to leave. "As of now, IPL is going ahead. Obviously, if anyone wants to leave, that's perfectly fine," a senior Board official source on condition of anonymity was quoted as saying by TOI.
One of the toughest cricketing leagues in the world, IPL was started on April 9 and will continue till May 30.