Australia and Rajasthan Royals pacer Andrew Tye said he decided to pull out midway from the Indian Premier League and left on Sunday as he feared getting locked out of his own country in the wake of a Covid-19 surge in India and claimed that some of his compatriots in the league are considering the same step.
The RR-contracted cricketer also raised a question over the money being spent by the franchises when the country is struggling to contain the spread of the virus.
On Monday, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson also withdrew from the tournamnet.
Tye said he decided to leave on Sunday after getting to know about the mounting quarantine cases from India in his hometown Perth. The 34-year-old had not got a game with the Royals so far and his contract with the franchise was worth Rs one crore.
“There was a number of reasons, but the main one was with the situation that has started to happen back home in Perth with a lot of cases in hotel quarantine coming out of India,” Tye is quoted as telling SEN WA Breakfast with Gilly and Goss from Doha on Monday.
“Now there’s been a community case in Perth governments are trying to restrict numbers coming back in, especially Western Australia.”
The bubble fatigue was also a factor, said Tye.
“I just thought to try and get on the front foot and get home before I got locked out of the country. It’s been a long time in bubbles and hubs - doing the calculations earlier, think I’ve had 11 days at home out of the bubble since August, so for me I just wanted to get home.”
Getting out of India is becoming tougher by the day with many countries imposing a travel ban, including the UK and New Zealand. Australia has also reduced flights by 30% and there could be more restrictions with India reporting more than 3 lakh cases per day over the past one week.
Leading Australian cricketers including David Warner, Steve Smith and Pat Cummins are part of the IPL. Tye claimed a lot of the Australian players are keen to take the first flight back home.
“There’s definitely concerns (from the Australians). A lot of guys have been in touch today once they realised I was leaving. Some of the guys are very interested in what route I took home and other guys are just happy to make sure I’m okay. Not sure if I’ll be the only one.”
Tye added that the IPL and BCCI have done a good job of keeping the players safe but added that he felt bad for the amount of people out there with Covid-19 while the tournament went ahead. He added that he was “100%” worried about the possibility of contracting the virus, when asked about it by former Aussie star Adam Gilchrist, who had also raised the question on Twitter.
“From a player safety point of view, we’re safe now but is it going to stay safe?,” Tye, who has played seven ODIs and 28 T20s for Australia, asked, as per the report on cricket.com.au, while talking about whether the tournament should go ahead and that there are multiple perspectives to consider.
“But looking at it from an Indian point of view, how are these companies and franchises spending so much money, and the government, on the IPL when there’s people not being able to get accepted into hospital?
“If sport can continue and be one of those avenues to relieve stress or give a glimmer of hope that the world is OK and there is light at the end of the tunnel, I think it should go ahead. But I know that’s not everyone’s feelings and I completely respect everyone’s views from all angles,” he added.
Tye is the second player from the Royals squad to leave home citing bubble fatigue and Covid-19 concerns after Englishman Liam Livingstone, who left before the travel ban from India came into effect.
Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association also issued a joint statement on Monday, saying that they are monitoring the situation.
“Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association remain in regular contact with Australian players, coaches and commentators taking part in the Indian Premier League, which is being conducted under strict bio-security protocols,” they said.
“We will continue to listen to feedback from those on the ground in India and the advice of the Australian Government. Our thoughts are with the people of India at this difficult time.”
(With PTI inputs)
You can listen to the interview here.