After reports emerged of Umpires Nitin Menon and Paul Reiffel pulling out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021, it is understood that the latter will stay on till the end of the season as his flight to Australia via Doha was supposedly cancelled. Menon, a resident of Indore, left to be with his family as it is learnt that his wife and mother have been infected with 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 ban on flights from India due to the rising COvid-19 cases in India ensured that he did not leave the bubble after reports emerged that he had flown back home. "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 (April 29) 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.
Reiffel will, therefore, now go back only after the end of the tournament on May 30. "I was 10 minutes away from leaving the bubble, so I'm very lucky," Reiffel said.
Menon is the second Indian to pull out of the tournament after off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who also went home after all his family members tested positive. Three Australians Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa left home 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. BCCI is likely to replace Menon with an umpire from its own pool of umpires.
(With inputs from PTI)