HomeCricketExclusive: IPL Suspended, Australian Cricketers Stuck In India

Exclusive: IPL Suspended, Australian Cricketers Stuck In India


Exclusive: IPL Suspended, Australian Cricketers Stuck In India

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he Indian Premier League (IPL) has been suspended indefinitely by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC).

The news comes as India is suffering an ongoing COVID-19 crisis, with nearly 20 million recorded cases and more than 300,000 daily positive tests over the last fortnight.

Announcing the decision to suspend the competition in a joint statement, the BCCI and the IPL GC said: “The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL.”

“This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and wellbeing of all the stakeholders in mind.

“These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times.

“The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021,” the statement read.

This announcement was made as Australia’s Government enforced a complete shutdown of all access to Australia from India, leaving over 30 Australians involved with the IPL, either as players, coaches, administrators, or commentators, in India with no possibility of returning to Australia before May 15.

Following the decision, Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association indicated they respect the decision from the Australian Government to pause travel from India and they will not seek exemptions for the Australians currently in India.

Despite this, former Australian cricketer, Michael Slater, who has been a commentator for the IPL, released comments disagreeing with the border closure and the refusal to return the Australians in India earlier than May 15.

Slater claimed Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, saying Morrison has ‘blood on his hands’ and the Australian government does not care about the safety of Australians.

Discussing the suspension of the IPL and Slater’s comments, former Australian men’s cricket head coach, and director and owner of Buchanan Success Coaching, John Buchanan, told Ministry of Sport the Australians currently in India chose to be there despite the known risks of COVID-19.

“Apart from the scale of things in India, the IPL competition is a little different to the AFL, NRL and other Australian sports putting together a ‘COVID season’,” Buchanan told Ministry of Sport.

“And globally, the same has occurred with ATP tennis, PGA golf, major league sports in the US, EPL in the UK, and so on.

“So why not India?

“In all these cases, questions have been raised of why can sport occur when other businesses are either forced into lockdown, or suffer significant downturns due to the enforcements?

“In part, it would seem the answers reside within three main views.

“Sport is important for the health and well-being of a large percentage of the population as it provides entertainment, a sense of belonging to their favourite team and therefore a necessary distraction from the lockdown situations that many are experiencing or have experienced for a long time.

“Sport is one means of keeping an economy ticking, if ever so slowly.

“While small businesses at venues, near stadium or travelling to and from events are impacted, other business such as gambling, online shopping, streaming, broadcasters and media are all keeping the economic wheels turning.

“The host body, in this case the BCCI, have a myriad of stakeholders to satisfy from broadcasters, franchise owners, sponsors, players, officials, and fans – so the ‘show must go on’.

“Also the BCCI has an eye to another prize in October which is the lucrative hosting of the ICC T20 World Cup.

“So it is important to demonstrate to the ICC and global cricket that it can manage a tournament like the IPL, irrespective of COVID,” he said.

Speaking on the Australians currently in India without hope of returning to Australia before 15 May, Buchanan said: “Then there are all the individuals who benefit from being involved with the IPL – players, coaches, support staff, match officials, and commentators.”

“For some, like the players, a cricket career can be short.

“So it is important to maximise career earnings while it is available.

“In 2020, the IPL was successfully held in Dubai due to well managed bio-security and security bubbles.

“Once the IPL was rescheduled to India for 2021, very few of these individuals chose not to go.

“Choices come with rewards as well as consequences.

“One cannot have one without the other; otherwise, individuals, particularly well-paid players, will be perceived to want ‘their cake and eat it too’.

“Which brings me to my final observation of IPL 2021 and that is the curious position adopted by commentator, Michael Slater – demanding he be repatriated to Australia by the government because he made his choice to go to the IPL…

“Is Michael Slater asking to be treated differently to other expatriates who have travelled to India recently or in the past and had been given government approvals by way of visas and passports?

“Is Michael Slater using his privileged position as a commentator to draw attention to his plight through his colourful remarks to the Prime Minister?

“Ultimately, Michael Slater and others that support his opinions have the right to say so – I simply do not agree with them.

“He needs to demonstrate more humility, more patience, more empathy for the current situation that all people who are living in India find themselves – as the majority of people are doing,” he told Ministry of Sport.

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