Mumbai Indians opener Chris Lynn has asked Australia’s cricket board to arrange a charter flight to bring players home at the end of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 as India battles a surge in COVID-19 infections. Three Australian cricketers have already cut short their IPL season to head home but a number of the country’s top players, including Steve Smith, David Warner and Pat Cummins, remain.
Cricket Australia (CA) contacted Australia’s IPL players on Monday (April 26) inquiring about their health and travel plans.
“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, who plays for Mumbai Indians, 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.”
The regular season ends on May 23, with qualifiers and eliminators to follow before the final on May 30. CA were unable to provide immediate comment.
India recorded 352,991 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, placing further strain on an already overwhelmed health system. Australia is set to consider a proposal on Tuesday to suspend all flights from India to prevent more virulent coronavirus variants entering the country.
The government said last week it would cut the number of its citizens able to return from India and other red-zone countries. The IPL is being played under biosecurity protocols and Lynn said he felt comfortable in the environment and had no immediate plans to leave.
“Obviously India is in chaos at the moment. But we are at least giving people something to smile about by playing the tournament,” he added.
Eoin Morgan, one of 11 England players in the IPL, said they were constantly talking about the situation outside the bubble. “It’s not nice to watch from afar, considering how lucky we are in a bubble and not be affected by it very much,” Morgan told reporters. “We lend our support … to everybody who is ill or going through tough times.”
New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills said none of their players had asked to go home.
“There’s no doubt they’re certainly anxious about what`s happening in India and what they’re witnessing. But they feel well looked-after by their IPL franchises and safe in their bubbles,” Mills said.