Ahmedabad (Gujarat) [India], April 29 (ANI): Umpire Paul Reiffel will continue to officiate in the ongoing 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) after the passage that would allow him to return to Australia through Doha was shut out. The former Australia cricketer will return to his country with the remaining 40-member Australian contingent after the IPL concludes 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 as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Commenting on returning to Australia, he said: "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. I thought I'd take the opportunity when I could, because you don't know what's going to happen later on."
While many have called for the suspension of the ongoing IPL amid the coronavirus crisis in India, Reiffel said suspending the ongoing tournament would be a "massive thing".
"I have read a lot of people have different opinions but cricket in India is such a massive thing. For it to be suspended would be such a massive thing to do over here. They're keeping it going -- a lot of people are enjoying it," said Reiffel.
Meanwhile, umpire Nitin Menon, who is in ICC's Elite Panel, has withdrawn from the IPL as coronavirus continues to rage in the country.
A BCCI official said Menon's family has coronavirus cases and that is the reason behind the pull out. "Nitin's mother and wife have tested positive for coronavirus and that is why he had to pull out. We hope they have a speedy recovery and we are always with him for any help that is needed. The backups that we have will be used in the games that were assigned to him," the official said.
Australian cricketers Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson, and Adam Zampa have pulled out of the ongoing tournament while Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has taken a break from the 2021 season as he wants to extend support to his family members who are currently battling coronavirus.
The COVID-19 pandemic has gripped India and the country has been reporting more than 3,00,000 new cases every day. This is the most number of cases being reported since the pandemic broke out in 2020.
Also, IPL COO Hemang Amin has assured all players and support staff that the BCCI will ensure their smooth return at the end of the league.
In a letter to the players and support staff, accessed by ANI, Hemang addressed the apprehension and concerns of the cricketers. He said that the tournament isn't over for the BCCI till every player reaches home safely. He also pointed that the bio-bubbles are being further strengthened with an eye on the coronavirus situation. (ANI)