Kolkata: The pullout of a number of Australian cricketers from ongoing IPL 2021, along with Indian star Ravi Ashwin to be with his extended family to fight the COVID-19 menace, has only brought to surface the concerns that the players had been sharing since the beginning of the league.
A few days back, Adam Gilchrist, the Australian legend and a former IPL-winning skipper with Deccan Chargers, raised the question on social media if carrying on with the league is ‘‘inappropriate’’ or an ‘‘important distraction’’ - leaving it to the fans to decide.
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Admitting the concerns after their win against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Ricky Ponting, the Delhi Capitals head coach said in a video on team’s Twitter handle: “This IPL, probably more than any other, has become more about what’s happening outside than what’s happening here. We right now are probably the safest people in the country being in the bubbles that we are in,” Ponting said.
“Continually I’m asking the boys at breakfast every day how’s everything going on the outside, how’s family, (is) family safe, (is) family happy. That’s a really important thing,” he said. “It is really important, we are thinking about the extended family, not just us, but we’ve got to be talking about what’s happening outside because it is quite grim,” Ponting added.
The former Australian skipper feels the ongoing IPL, nevertheless, can “bring a lot of joy” to the citizens of India. “Even with the country being in a situation that it is, I think cricket can still bring a lot of joy to people,” said Ponting.
“So, it is important for us to be doing what we can as cricketers and as coaches and as a franchise to putting on the best show as possible to give the people something that they’d like to see,” he added.
Ponting admitted that it’s “hard and difficult” for the players to be away from their families while living in the same city. “It is hard for the players to be away from their families. I can’t imagine... Even if I put myself in this situation, guys that live in Chennai are actually home now, but can’t see their families,” said Ponting.
Kolkata Knight Riders mentor David Hussey meanwhile said that some of the fellow Australians in the IPL are a “bit nervous” about getting back home in the wake of a COVID-19 surge in India.
While Rajasthan Royals pacer Andrew Tye decided to leave midway from the IPL as he feared getting “locked out” of his own country, bowlers Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson withdrew from the remainder of the ongoing league citing personal reasons, their franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore said on Monday.
“Everyone is sort of a bit nervous about whether they can get back into Australia. I dare say there will be a few other Australians a bit nervous about getting back into Australia,” Hussey, a former international, told the Australian media.