Originally, the Indian Premier League (IPL) is scheduled to commence on March 29. However, it was halted for 17 days due to the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic as announced by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has imposed an overseas travel ban on country’s citizens, putting its cricketers’ IPL 2020 participation a major doubt.
Morrison declared a “human biosecurity emergency” and urged country’s citizens to abandon all overseas travel for the next six months as the global pandemic remains uncontainable. “Life is changing in Australia, as it is changing all around the world,” Morrison said. “Life is going to continue to change, as we deal with the global coronavirus. This is a once in a hundred-year type event.”
At the time of writing, the WHO had reported over 220,000 confirmed cases of COVID globally, reaching more than 8,000 deaths. There are 500 confirmed cases in Japan with 6 reported deaths and 43 recoveries from the disease. Meanwhile, there are 148 confirmed cases with three fatalities in India. “It is very important that Australians do not travel abroad at this time,” Morisson insisted.
There are 17 Australian cricketers who have been signed up by IPL franchises, including Steve Smith, David Warner, Pat Cummins and Glenn Maxwell, have rich IPL contracts. Cummins broke the record for the costliest foreign buy in the history of IPL with Rs 15.5 crore deal to play for Kolkata Knight Riders, while Maxwell went to Kings XI Punjab for Rs 10.75 crore.
Cricket Australia chief Kevin Roberts hinted that IPL contracts of these player might be given up. “We can provide advice. We’re conscious of the fact that Australian players are individually contracted to the IPL and the time will certainly come very soon where players are going to be really interested and leaning on our perspective as their leader… to advise them in that regard,” Roberts said.
India’s the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare ordered “all existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/International Organizations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020.” About five-dozen overseas players contracted for the tournament. As of now, the Indian government has barred the entry of people from specific countries and regions.
According to reports, franchise officials have expressed their worries in these rulings. “Yes, we have been informed that the IPL will now start from April 15, but what we need clarity on the availability of the foreign players. The IPL loses its charm if we don’t have the four foreigners in the teams. After all, they are just as integral a part of the teams as the Indian stars,” said one franchise official.
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