IPL 2021: David Warner and Steve Smith to withdraw from tournament?

Several Australian cricketers are looking to leave the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 due to fears that they will be locked of their country following rising COVID-19 cases in India. It has now been learned that the Australian duo of Steve Smith and David Warner could also decide to follow the suit and head home before Australia’s borders are shut for people coming in from India.

According to a report in 9News early Tuesday morning, “Australian cricketers including David Warner and Steve Smith are now hoping to be flown home to India before borders shut.”

Warner is leading SunRisers Hyderabad while Steve Smith is batting for Delhi Capitals.

“We have got 30 players, coaches and commentators that are very keen to get out of India naturally given the deteriorating situation that they are facing health-wise right across the country,” added the report.

There were 17 Australian players participating in the¬†Indian Premier League¬†out of which three – Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson (both Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Andrew Tye (Rajasthan Royals) have already returned home. Tye told cricket.com.au that he doesn’t want to get locked out of the country.

There are coaches like Ricky Ponting (Delhi Capitals), David Hussey (Kolkata Knight Riders) and Simon Katich (Royal Challengers Bangalore) as well as commentators Brett Lee, Michael Slater and Matthew Hayden.

The report added that there are talks of bringing the players back on a chartered plane. The 9News report claimed that there are talks over that and a suggestion for it has been ‘bandied’ but nothing has been finalised.

Cricket Australia though told IANS that there are no plans of having a chartered plan for the players at this point.

The other option being discussed is quarantine in a third country before reaching Australia.

“I’m just going to wait and see how that plays out. Worst comes to worst, we’ll have to quarantine in Dubai for a couple of weeks before we can fly home. But I’m sure it will get sorted,” Aussie pacer Nathan Coulter-Nile, who is with Mumbai Indians, told cricket.com.au.

Coulter-Nile, however, remains adamant on staying back.

But that may not be possible if a complete ban on flights from India is discussed and put in place.

Nine Media and news.com.au have been reporting that a complete ban on flights will also be discussed in the National Security Committee of Cabinet meeting.

It is worth mentioning that the second wave of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc in India, with more than 3 lakh new cases arriving on a day-to-day basis. The death rates are also on the all-time rise in the country.

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Sagar Biswas

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