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Do your homework before signing up for T20 leagues - ACA to Australia players

"They signed up with their eyes wide open about some of the risks...what they didn't expect was the borders to be closed."

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Australian players have been sent a message about doing their "homework" on the risks of overseas T20 deals due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effect on this year's IPL, according to Todd Greenberg, the chief executive of the Australian Cricketers' Association.
The players, along with Australia-based coaches and commentators, are now caught in limbo following the postponement of IPL 2021 with the border to their home country closed to India until at least May 15, which leaves them set to fly to an interim destination, probably the Maldives, before trying to return.
Greenberg reiterated what Pat Cummins said on Tuesday, that the players knew what they had signed up for with the IPL in the current climate, but that the news of the closed border to Australian citizens had changed the dynamic of the situation.
The players are a mix of those who hold CA central contracts, state contracts and freelancers. They all required NOCs from Cricket Australia to compete but those with CA and state contracts are doing so during the annual leave period, and so effectively have made their own decision. Chris Lynn, Dan Christian and Ben Cutting were also caught up in the suspension of the PSL earlier this year.
Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Marsh and Josh Philippe withdrew before the IPL began - largely citing bubble fatigue, rather than the rising number of Covid cases specifically - while Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa managed to get back to Australia before the border was closed.
"I'm not sure it will create reticence [in the future] but it will ensure players do their due diligence before they sign agreements," Greenberg said. "The world is literally changing before our eyes particularly with Covid and on that side of the world, obviously, those cases are going up exponentially.
"We're enjoying our freedoms here in Australia. It is a very different place over there. If anything it sends a message to players about making sure you do your homework before making any decisions."
Support and counselling will be available to the players if needed when they are finally able to make it home. In total there are 38 Australians who remained at the tournament when it was called off yesterday with one, Chennai Super King's batting coach Mike Hussey, now having tested positive for Covid-19.
"I was at pains to point it out during the week, the public will see our best Australian cricketers as almost superheroes, they're brilliant athletes, great cricketers, but they're human beings, some of them are fathers and husbands and they're under enormous amounts of stress," Greenberg, said. "Some deal with it differently. This will probably be an experience they will never forget.
"We will help them when they come home. Some will cope with it really well, others will need support and counselling and that's what we'll do."
"They signed up with their eyes wide open about some of the challenges and risks when they went in. What they didn't expect was the borders to be closed. That created anxiety for them, just like it would create anxiety for the 9,000-odd Australians over there looking to come home. That's a normal reaction for our players."
Those players involved in Australia's limited-overs set-up also face the prospect of heading overseas again towards the end of June for a tour of the Caribbean that includes ODIs and T20Is. It remains to be seen whether all players make themselves available for that trip.
"It's obviously been a lot of uncertainty and a pretty stressful time for them," Nick Hockley, the interim CA chief executive said. "Between us and the ACA we've been working to put as much support as we possibly can around them and their welfare is our absolute number one priority.
"So I think that in the first instance, the absolute priority is to get them home safe and well and then we'll think about upcoming overseas tours."
However, Hockley said there was no regret on the part of CA in offering the NOCs which allowed the players to compete in the IPL even though the signs ahead of the competition was that the situation in India was getting worse.
"The IPL, they put so much work, so much effort into putting on the tournament. They obviously did that on the best-available information at the time and they've come to the decision over the last 24 hours that it's in the interests of the health and safety of everyone to suspend the tournament."

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo