HomeSportCricketers pull out of IPL as COVID-19 cases spiral

Cricketers pull out of IPL as COVID-19 cases spiral

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Frightened professional cricketers are giving up their lucrative India Premier League (IPL) contracts and withdrawing from this year’s competition over fears of the growing COVID-19 emergency in India.

Australians Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson are the latest to announce they are leaving the country and heading back to their homeland as deaths and cases continue to spike.

They follow Rajasthan Royals bowler Andrew Tye in forfeiting their deals, while India international Ravichandran Ashwin has also withdrawn to support his family.

Overnight, India recorded 2 812 deaths, while new infections in the last 24-hours rose to 352 991 — another new global record.

The IPL is continuing to play in six cities across India, despite the alarming medical situation across the country.

Life-saving oxygen and hospital beds are running low, while it is thought that deaths caused by COVID-19 are being under-reported.

Makeshift crematoriums are being set up to cope with the rise in deaths.

England one-day international player Liam Livingstone left the IPL last week, while Test star Jofra Archer decided against taking up his place in the competition before it began.

England all-rounder Ben Stokes had previously had his participation ended by a broken finger.

Livingstone cited his “bubble fatigue” from the past year as a reason behind his decision to quit the Rajasthan Royals’ camp.

The league attracted criticism for continuing during the crisis, with a leading newspaper group accusing it of “commercialism gone crass” as it suspended coverage on Sunday.

The Express Publications newspaper group said it had stopped reporting on the competition until a “semblance of normalcy is restored”.

“In such a tragic time, we find it incongruous that the festival of cricket is on in India,” the group said. “This is commercialism gone crass.”

Another paper has also hit out at the tournament, with Hindustan Times senior journalist Sharda Ugra describing the lack of response as “tone deaf”.

“Bubble-wrapped into tone deafness in a persistent, foghorn blast for its many sponsors every five minutes, rather than any quiet, measured acknowledgement of the suffering outside its gates,” she wrote in a comment piece.

IPL matches will continue to be played behind closed doors, the lucrative nature of the competition leaving organisers reluctant to cancel or postpone.

That is despite the ongoing rise in cases — which included Indian cricket great Sachin Tendulkar, with the 47-year-old hospitalised last week.

Last year, the season was moved to September and took place in the United Arab Emirates to ensure it could go ahead, Mumbai Indians lifting the title in November.

It is expected that more players could withdraw as the pandemic in India worsens, with bowler Tye revealing that others have asked him about a route home.

“Some of the guys are very interested in what route I took home and how I approached it,” he told the SEN WA radio station. “Other guys are just happy to make sure I’m OK and make sure I’m in a good space.”

— DailyMail

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