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IPL 2021: Nitin Menon pulls out of tournament, Paul Reiffel's attempt to leave fails due to travel ban

IPL 2021: Umpires Nitin Menon, Paul Reiffel pull out of tournament amid COVID-19 crisis in India
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IPL 2021: Umpires Nitin Menon, Paul Reiffel pull out of tournament amid COVID-19 crisis in India

Highlights

Indian umpire Nitin Menon is the latest person to pull out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 due to personal reasons. His Australian counterpart Paul Reiffel failed to return to Australia due to a travel ban.

Indian umpire Nitin Menon is the latest person to pull out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 due to personal reasons. His Australian counterpart Paul Reiffel failed to return to Australia due to a travel ban.

Menon has joined Ravichandran Ashwin (Delhi Capitals), Kane Richardson (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Adam Zampa (Royal Challengers Bangalore), Andrew Tye (Rajasthan Royals), and Liam Livingstone (Rajasthan Royals) in the list of people to have pulled out of the tournament amid the growing COVID-19 crisis in India.

It is believed that Menon, who is the only Indian in ICC's Elite Panel of umpires, had to leave the IPL 2021 bio-secure bubble and return home to Indore after his wife and mother tested positive for COVID-19, according to reports.

"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 was quoted by PTI, as saying.

"Nitin has a small child to look after as his mother and wife have tested positive while Reiffel informed BCCI that he fears not being able to go home due to the Australian government's decision banning all flights from India. The BCCI already had several local umpires as a back-up so they will be officiating in games in which Menon and Reiffel were scheduled to stand," a BCCI official was quoted by The Indian Express, as saying in an interview.

Meanwhile, in Reiffel's case, the Australian government's imposition of a travel ban on flights to and from India amid the rising COVID-19 cases in the country has led to him being unable to leave the bubble after initial information suggested that he has made the move.

"I tried to, but the flight through Doha, I wasn't able to go through as an Australian. 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," Reiffel the Herald and The Age on Thursday from his hotel in Ahmedabad.

Reiffel will, therefore, now go back only after the end of the tournament on May 30, according to PTI.

"I was 10 minutes away from leaving the bubble, so I'm very lucky," added Reiffel in the same interview.

Ashwin, who is the only Indian to pulled out of IPL 2021, has said that he wants to take a break from the tournament to spend more time with his family and support them through the current crisis. But he also has said that "if things go in the right direction," he would return to Delhi Capitals' camp.

The ongoing season of the IPL is being played at just six venues due to the country's COVID-19 situation and none of the teams have the luxury of playing at home. The final will be played on May 30 at the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad.

India has witnessed a global record spike in cases for the eighth consecutive day with 3,79,257 positive results and 3,645 deaths in the last 24 hours.

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