So far, the IPL matches have been played in Chennai and Mumbai, and are now set to move to Delhi and Ahmedabad starting Wednesday.
Coronavirus anxiety among IPL players: The anxiety surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and its second wave in India seems to have now reached through to the IPL players with Delhi Capitals off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin becoming the biggest name to pull out from the tournament. According to a report in the IE, the cricketer has pulled out so that he can support his immediate and extended family during these pandemic. Before Ashwin, three Australian players also excused themselves from the ongoing tournament for personal reasons, while bubble fatigue caused one Englishman to return.
So far, the IPL matches have been played in Chennai and Mumbai, and are now set to move to Delhi and Ahmedabad starting Wednesday. Ultimately, the group stage of the tournament will culminate with matches in Bengaluru and Kolkata. Delhi will witness its first IPL match this season on Wednesday, even as the city is grappling with a massive shortage of beds and oxygen and a huge surge in the number of cases.
IPL 2021: Players who have left till now
The report stated that so far, five players including Ashwin have left the tournament. Andrew Tye and Liam Livingstone of Rajasthan Royals have gone back home, and apart from them, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson also announced that they would be returning to Australia for “personal reasons”.
Concern regarding bubble safety
While Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting said that the players inside the bubble are probably among those that are most protected in the country, the players leaving the tournament is likely more to do with the fact that the UK and Australia along with other countries have reduced or banned flights from India. This, he said, has likely created a tense situation among the players, who are now worried about their certainty of being able to return home once the tournament is over.
The reason behind Ashwin leaving
After Ashwin participated in Delhi Capitals’ match against Sunrisers Hyderabad, he tweeted saying that he would be taking a break from this season’s IPL now so that he can help his family and extended family in their fight against the pandemic. He also stated that he expected to return if everything went well.
The report cited an official as saying that a major part of the off-the-field conversations among the team had circled around the situation that was prevalent outside, as some players and support staff members have close relatives who have contracted the virus. Overall, the situation is very tense and it is not easy for them.
Bubble fatigue: An added factor
Liam Livingstone has returned home due to bubble fatigue that had accumulated over the past one year, the Rajasthan Royals had tweeted. Moreover, the stress and mental health issues that come with bubble life have been highlighted by nearly all international captains. This had been the reason behind England choosing to stick to a rotation policy and ignoring the criticism it was receiving during its series against India just before the IPL tournament.
Matches in Delhi to go ahead?
Even as the national capital is now facing a lockdown till May 3 due to a positivity rate that has gone to a whopping 36%, the BCCI has decided to carry on and conduct the matches in Delhi. The board is confident that its safety measures and security arrangements would keep things running smoothly.