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With Flights From India Suspended, What Options are Left For Australian Players in IPL 2021

With Australia suspending all direct flights from India with immediate effect till May 15, Australian players plying their trade in the ongoing IPL 2021 alongside a host of ex-cricketers, who are part of the tournament as support staff, and broadcasters are facing the prospect of being stranded in the country. While IPL will go on till May 30 with the league stage finishing only on the 23rd, few players have already flown out of the country, and a few, namely the high profile players like David Warner and Steve Smith were contemplating leaving India amid the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

However, with the latest development, it looks tough for Smith, Warner, and anyone else who wants to travel back to Australia. Andrew Tye of Rajasthan Royals is traveling back to Australia via Doha and Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa, both with Royal Challengers Banglaore too may have to find alternate routes to return home.

How many Australians are part of IPL 2021?

There are up to 30 Australians including players who are part of IPL 2021. Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Marcus Stoinis, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Riley Meredith, Ben Cutting, Daniel Sams, Daniel Christian constitute the remaining players in the tournament while there are also coaches like Ricky Ponting (Delhi Capitals), Simon Katich (Royal Challengers Bangalore), David Hussey (KKR), Micahel Hussey (CSK) and former Australian cricketers turned commentators Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee, Michael Slater, Lisa Sthalekar and umpire Paul Reiffel.

Who are the Australian players to have pulled out of IPL 2021 so far?

While few players have left citing personal reasons like bubble fatigue and a few chose not to travel at all despite having contracts with the teams – Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Marsh, and Josh Philippe – there are few who feel staying back is actually safer. “Everyone’s got their own opinions on it and different situations for them,” Coulter-Nile told cricket.com.au. “I was surprised to see AJ go home, and then Zamps and Richo, but when you speak to them, you definitely understand where they’re coming from. “I spoke to Zamps a little while ago and he made a very compelling argument for going home. But for me, I feel like it’s safer for me to stay in the bubble than try and get home at the moment.”

What options do the Australian players have after the Flight Suspension?

Also, while the restrictions are only for commercial flights, there is always an option of repatriation flights. And if need arises, as a last resort, such special flights can be arranged. Mumbai Indians batsman Chris Lynn has requested Cricket Australia to arrange a chartered flight to take its players home from COVID-ravaged India after the IPL is over and revealed that his franchise will get all members of the team vaccinated next week.

“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 told News Corp media. “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.”

“We don’t get to see the day to day stuff that’s happening outside the hotel,” he said. “Obviously it’s horrific what’s going with COVID-19. It’s a case by case situation where you can’t blame an Australian player if he wants to go home and get back to his family. And you also can’t blame an Australian player who wants to stay and play the rest of the IPL,” former cricketer Lee said during Fox Cricket’s Road to The Ashes podcast.

“From what I’m hearing from most of the players, 95 per cent of players are engaged and understand the risks,” Lee said. “We’re fully aware of what we’re doing and we just have to abide by those rules.

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