Picture: 123RF/RICHARD THOMAS
Picture: 123RF/RICHARD THOMAS

Bengaluru — India’s cricket board told players on Tuesday that it will ensure their safe return home once the Twenty20 tournament is completed, in a charm offensive as the Covid-19 pandemic grips the country, local media reported.

Australia’s Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson and Andrew Tye have cut short their IPL season and gone home, while India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has pulled out as the nation grapples with rocketing case numbers.

In a letter to players, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) interim CEO Hemang Amin assured players they would get full support during and after the tournament, which is being played under biosecurity protocols and ends at the end of May.

“The BCCI will do everything to ensure that you reach your respective destinations seamlessly,” Amin wrote, according to local media reports. “Rest assured that the tournament isn’t over for BCCI till each one of you has reached your home, safe and sound.”

Vital medical supplies poured into India on Tuesday with the country’s new caseload running at well more than 300,000 a day and with 2,771 deaths in the past 24 hours taking the country’s toll so far to 197,894.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said his country will not prioritise IPL players for repatriation.

Amin said the cricketers were playing for more than just a trophy.

“As some of you have said: ‘If we can help distract people from all the troubles of recent times, even if it is for a short while, we have done a great job’,” he wrote.

“If, even for a minute, you can bring a smile on someone’s face, then you have done well. While you are professionals and will play to win, this time you are also playing for something much more important ... humanity.”

BCCI officials were not immediately available to comment.

The IPL regular season ends on May 23, followed by playoffs and a final on May 30.

Reuters

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