As India’s coronavirus situation worsens, Chris Lynn’s suggestion that Cricket Australia could organise a chartered flight home for players competing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been branded “absurd”.
Despite India’s recent insistence that it was “in the endgame” of its battle against COVID-19, the nation is battling a huge increase in coronavirus cases, escalating deaths and dwindling medical supplies.
India recorded 352,991 new infections and 2812 deaths on Monday, with their total number of cases approaching 18 million. A Delhi High Court hearing a special petition on the pandemic measures said on the weekend: “We’re calling it a wave, it’s actually a tsunami.”
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On Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that flights to and from India would be suspended until May 15, including commercial and government repatriation services.
There are still 14 Aussie cricketers in India, including David Warner, Steve Smith and Pat Cummins, along with a handful of coaches such as Ricky Ponting and Simon Katich. The group stage of the IPL is scheduled to end on May 23, with the final set for May 30.
West Australian paceman Andrew Tye had returned to Australia before the border closure, but Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson remain in Mumbai after abandoning their IPL campaigns.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed the Australian cricketers would not be given any preferential treatment.
“They’ve travelled there privately under their own arrangements. This wasn’t part of an Australian tour,” MR Morrison told reporters on Tuesday.
“And they’re under their own resources and they’ll be using those resources, I’m sure, to see them return to Australia in accordance with our own arrangements.”
A COVID-19 patient on a wheelchair goes for a medical test inside a government hospital in Kolkata.Source:Getty Images
Funeral pyres burn as the last rites are performed of the patients who died of the coronavirus at a cremation ground in Allahabad.Source:AFP
Speaking to News Corp this week, Mumbai Indians batter Lynn revealed he had suggested CA could organise a chartered flight for the Australian players to return home when the T20 tournament concludes in late May.
“I texted back that as Cricket Australia make 10 per cent of every IPL contract, was there a chance we could spend that money this year on a charter flight once the tournament is over?” Lynn said before Morrison’s announcement.
“I know there are people worse off than us. But we are going from a really tight bubble and are getting vaccinated next week so hopefully the government will let us get home on a private charter.
“We are not asking for shortcuts and we signed up knowing the risks. But it would be great to get home as soon as the event is over.’’
Lynn’s remarks were met with some criticism. Former sports reporter and now radio host Jim Wilson tweeted: “The request is absurd. With respect, there are bigger priorities right now than those in the IPL.”
Wilson added Lynn’s request was “a bit rich”.
Lynn has played one match in the 2021 IPL thus far, scoring 49 against the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the tournament opener earlier this month.
Others on social media also questioned his stance.
now chris lynn adds to the mix – wants the ACB which takes 10 pc of every oz player’s ipl earnings – to fly out all oz players on a charter, imagine their mindset and thought process at this moment, think it is senseless to play under the shadow of a raging covid
Plenty of Aussies locked out while these guys chose to go to a COVID hotspot and now they want help to come home? Hmmm? https://t.co/1DEQk0Nsv5
Lynn has copped some heat for his suggestion.Source:News Corp Australia
Cricket Australia confirmed to news.com.au that the majority of Australian players and staff have no intention of leaving the glamorous T20 tournament early, and a chartered flight would not be necessary at this stage.
Although not directly involved in the their role at the IPL, CA and the Australian Cricketers’ Association remain in frequent contact with the players and staff, who are confined in strict hotel biosecurity bubbles.
ACA chief executive Todd Greenberg told 2GB on Wednesday morning: “One thing I can tell you … there’s no free rides or any expectations of that from our players.”
Indian Premier League chiefs reassured the tournament’s international cricketers they are “totally safe” and urged players to remain in India and keep competing.
“We understand that there are (a) few apprehensions and concerns regarding the general situation in India and the withdrawals of certain cricketers,” said acting Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Hemang Amin in an email sent to players and coaches.
“We completely respect the decision taken by the players and extend our support to them in every way.
“At the same time, we would also assure you that you are totally safe within the bubble.
“When you all walk out onto the field, you are bringing hope to millions of people who have tuned in.
“This time you are also playing for something much more important … humanity.”
Australian paceman Pat Cummins vowed to stay in India on Monday, donating $50,000 to help the nation fight the outbreak.
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