IPl 2021: Cricket Australia in a bind after saying no to special flight for IPL players

Cricket Australia (CA) is not thinking of bringing its players featuring in the Indian Premier League (IPL) back home on a chartered flight at the moment although this could change after the IPL bio-bubble was hit by Covid-19 cases on Monday.

Both CA and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said that they are in touch with their players with the ECB adding that the decision to continue playing IPL rests with the players.

“There’s no suggestion at the moment of any charter flight,” Nick Hockley, the interim chief executive officer of Cricket Australia, was quoted as saying on SEN Radio on Monday.

“We’re working closely and talking closely with the ACA (Australian Cricketers’ Association), with the players and with the BCCI to make sure everyone’s okay and the people have got full information,” he added.

Hockley confirmed that the players were in good spirits although his view came before two players of Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) tested positive leading to the postponement of Monday night’s match between Kolkata, Bengaluru franchises.

“We’ve been in touch with the players there and they are generally in good spirits,” he added.

“The work the BCCI has done around the [bio-] bubble means they are feeling safe and secure, and those we’ve talked to are generally planning to complete their playing commitments.”

These views may be revisited after the spinner Varun Chakravarthy and fast bowler Sandeep Warrier tested positive in the KKR camp and were isolated following Hockley’s comments. Aussie pace bowler Pat Cummins is part of KKR while CSK, the other franchise affected, features another Aussie pacer Jason Behrendorff.

Hockley was reacting to Mumbai Indians (MI) opener Chris Lynn’s demands. Lynn had earlier asked CA to arrange for a flight to bring IPL players back home since the cricket board takes 10% of a player’s contract.

“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 had told News Corp media.

However, former Australia captain Mark Taylor disagreed with Lynn’s views saying on a Channel 9 sports show,
“I think Chris Lynn’s comments were very rich. The 10% that Cricket Australia does receive from a player’s contract has surely got something with providing the cricketer with some coaching education along the way to become an IPL worthy cricketer. I think his comments there are quite rich.”

An ECB spokesperson said that the cricket board has left the decision to participate in IPL with the players.

“We continue to monitor and communicate with our players and staff currently in India. In terms of continued participation, it will be a decision that will be taken by each individual,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying by an ESPNcricinfo.

England too have players in the franchises that have been affected with Moeen Ali and Sam Curran in CSK and Eoin Morgan in KKR.

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Sagar Biswas

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