India’s top umpire Nitin Menon pulled out of the Indian Premier League due to personal reasons, while his Australian counterpart Paul Reiffel’s attempts at leaving were stalled because of his country’s suspension of air travel with India.
It is learnt that Menon, a resident of Indore, has left the IPL bio-bubble after his wife and mother tested positive for Covid-19. “Yes, Nitin has left as his immediate family members have Covid-19 and he is currently not in a mental state to conduct games,” a BCCI official told PTI.
In Reiffel’s case, the Australian government’s imposition of a travel ban on flights to and from India in the wake of the rising Covid-19 cases here led to him being unable to leave the bubble after initial information suggested that he has made the move.
He will now go back only after the end of the tournament on May 30.
“I tried to, but the flight through Doha, I wasn’t able to go through as an Australian,” Reiffel told the Herald and The Age on Thursday from his hotel in Ahmedabad.
“They shut the avenue off. I know a couple of the guys got back that way through there, but the avenue was closed so I had to stay. Yesterday, I was booked to go, but it got cancelled,” he said.
“I was 10 minutes away from leaving the bubble, so I’m very lucky,” Reiffel said.
BCCI is likely to replace Menon and Reiffel with two of its own pool of umpires. The BCCI already had several local umpires as a backup so they will be officiating in games in which Menon and Reiffel were scheduled to stand,” a BCCI official told The Indian Express.
The newspaper also reported that the BCCI was expecting another Australian umpire, Rod Tucker to come to India but he has said he would be unable to due to personal reasons.
Menon is the second Indian to pull out of the tournament after Indian off-spinner Ashwin Ravichandran, who also went home after all his family members tested positive. Three Australians Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa have already left due to the unprecedented health crisis in India.
However, the BCCI is going ahead with the tournament and interim CEO Hemang Amin has assured all players and support staff that they remain safe in the bio-bubble.