After a few players withdrew from the Indian Premier League (IPL) for reasons related to the current coronavirus crisis in the country, two referees have now withdrawn from the tournament.
Nitin Menon and Australia’s Paul Reiffel, both members of the ICC elite referee panel, have stepped down from the IPL for personal reasons.
Menon returned home to Indore after his mother and wife tested positive for the virus, while former Australian fashion designer Reiffel returned a few days ago due to concern the Australian government would allow not flights from India.
“Nitin has a small child to support as his mother and wife tested positive while Reiffel informed the BCCI that he was concerned he would not be able to return home due to the Australian government decision banning all flights from turkey. The BCCI already had several local referees in reinforcement, they will therefore officiate in the matches to which Menon and Reiffel were to appear ”, confirmed a person in charge of the BCCI to The Indian Express.
The IPL has already seen Aussie players Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa return for fear of not being able to return home if they stayed in India longer. England player Liam Livingstone has stepped down citing ‘bubble fatigue’ while Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took a break to be with his family, battling the virus.
Menon and Reiffel are the first two match officials to retire from the league mid-term. The BCCI expected another Australian arbitrator, Rod Tucker, to travel to India for the IPL, but he too informed the board that he would not be traveling to the subcontinent for any inquiries. personal reasons.
BCCI Acting General Manager Hemang Amin wrote to the eight IPL teams, players, officials, commentators as well as coaches and support staff on Tuesday that the board will arrange for a smooth transport home. once the tournament is over. The BCCI’s advice came after the Australian government decided to halt all flights from India until May 15.
“We understand that many of you are concerned about how you will get home after the tournament is over, which is natural and understandable. We want to let you know that you have nothing to fear. The BCCI will do everything in its power to ensure that you reach your respective destinations in complete transparency. The BCCI is monitoring the situation very closely and is working with government authorities to make arrangements to bring you home once the tournament is over. Rest assured that the tournament is not over for the BCCI until each of you has reached your home safe and sound, ”Amin wrote in an email.
Mumbai Indians batsman Chris Lynn had even asked Cricket Australia to charter a flight so the players could return home after the tournament was over. But Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has made it clear that cricketers playing in the IPL will not receive any kind of preferential treatment.
“They traveled there privately. It was not part of an Australian tour. They have their own resources and they will also use those resources, I’m sure, to see them return to Australia according to their own arrangements, ”Morrison said, as quoted by The Guardian.
Cricket Australia, for its part, said it has “regular dialogues with players, coaches, match officials and commentators on the pitch in India.”
“We will continue to have a close relationship with the Australian government following the announcement that direct flights between India and Australia will be suspended until May 15 …”