Three Australian cricketers have pulled out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 and returned home as the country’s COVID-19 crisis continues to escalate.
Rajasthan Royals (RR) fast bowler Andrew Tye was the first to depart before Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) duo Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson confirmed their return to Australia on Monday morning.
“Adam Zampa & Kane Richardson are returning to Australia for personal reasons and will be unavailable for the remainder of IPL season. Royal Challengers Bangalore offers complete support to them in all the possible way we can,” the franchise said in a statement.
Amidst COVID-19 chaos, India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin too has left the Delhi Capitals (DC) bio-bubble and will be with his family members until “things go in the right direction”.
I would be taking a break from this years 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. I expect to return to play if things go in the right direction. Thank you @DelhiCapitals 🙏🙏
— Stay home stay safe! Take your vaccine🇮🇳 (@ashwinravi99) April 25, 2021
DC head coach Ricky Ponting spoke openly about the “grim” situation on Saturday.
“This IPL, probably more than any other, has become more about what’s happening outside than what’s happening here.
“We right now are probably the safest people in the country being in the bubbles that we are in. Continually I’m asking the boys at breakfast every day how’s everything going on the outside.
“It is really important, we are thinking about the extended family, not just us, but we’ve got to be talking about what’s happening outside because it is quite grim,” Ponting had said.
As many as 14 Australian players now remain in the IPL, including stars such as David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Pat Cummins, as well as coaches Ponting and Simon Katich.
Commentators Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee, Michael Slater and Lisa Sthalekar are also among the Australians involved with the T20 extravaganza right now.