The Indian Premier League trophy (Image courtesy: Twitter/@IPL, BCCI)
A Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official has said that it is unlikely that more cricketers would opt out of the IPL in the face of the explosion of COVID cases across the country. “While many (foreign) players wanted to go, they later got to know that they might have to stay in India due to travel restrictions. So, after the initial buzz of people wanting to opt out of the IPL, nobody is talking about it now,” the official said.
The uncontrolled surge in coronavirus cases had prompted five cricketers — R Ashwin, Australian players Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa and England’s Liam Livingstone — to opt out of the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Zampa and Richardson faced difficulties getting home as Australia has paused all direct flights to India from April 27. The two players had to take a connecting flight from Doha to reach Melbourne. Meanwhile, Chris Lynn from the Mumbai Indians team had requested for a chartered flight to go back home, but Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said IPL players would not receive preferential treatment.
This is why the BCCI official said players are not going to opt out because they do not have any options and it is safer inside the bio-bubble.
But will there be any financial implications for those who left IPL 14 midway? Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) had retained Zampa and Richardson this year at Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 4 crore, respectively. Tye and Livingstone were bought by Rajasthan Royals for Rs 1 crore and Rs 75 lakh, respectively.
The BCCI official said that no one has opted out against the franchises. “It is for personal reasons. A franchise wants the player to perform but if they are under stress and if the player is unable to perform, then having the player on the team will also not help. While it will be the franchises that take the call, I think there will be no salary deductions for players who have pulled out of IPL 14.”
He cited Axar Patel’s example. Patel, who plays for Delhi Capitals, had tested positive for COVID-19 and missed a few matches. “He was unable to play a few matches but that doesn’t mean he will be paid for the matches he plays. He will be paid for the whole tournament,” the official said.
Along with the players, it looks like the situation is under control for the broadcaster as well as the franchise.
Rajat Mishra, Risk management & Insurance Expert, a Supreme Court lawyer, and Managing Partner of law firm Lexvisor Global, pointed out that if less than 5 percent of the players were leaving then nothing would happen. But if 20-30 percent were leaving then there would be a cascading effect. One or two players citing personal reasons is not an issue.”