Home cricket Nitin Menon leaves IPL bubble; Paul Reiffel’s Australia return plans ‘cancelled’

Nitin Menon leaves IPL bubble; Paul Reiffel’s Australia return plans ‘cancelled’

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ESPNcricinfo understands Menon left for Indore earlier this week after his parents tested positive for Covid-19

Senior Indian umpire Nitin Menon has quit the IPL bubble for personal reasons. ESPNcricinfo understands Menon left for his home town of Indore earlier this week after his parents tested positive for Covid-19.

Menon, the only Indian umpire on ICC’s Elite Panel, stood in half a dozen matches in the Chennai leg of the IPL before he flew to Delhi where he was meant to officiate in four matches. However Menon was absent in the April 28 contest between Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad as he flew to Indore on Tuesday. It is understood that Menon is likely to return back to the IPL later in May subject to his family being safe.

Menon is the second person from the Indian contingent in the IPL to leave the tournament after Delhi Capitals’ off spinner R Ashwin left the bubble after playing the match against Sunrisers on April 25 in his home town Chennai. Ashwin announced his exit on his Twitter stating he was “taking a break” from the IPL to “support” his “family and extended family” who were battling Covid-19. The virus has wreaked havoc in India, which has been reporting record daily infections in the past few weeks.

The grim situation has forced countries to bar travel to and from India. That development forced a few players including the Australian trio of Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson (both Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Andrew Tye (Rajasthan Royals) along with England’s Liam Livingstone (Royals) to return home.

Reiffel ‘booked’ to return to Australia, but plan ‘cancelled’

The Australian government’s updated travel restrictions combined with stiff quarantine requirements also had prompted Australian umpire Paul Reiffel to return home. However Reiffel, who is currently in Ahmedabad, told a couple of Australian newspapers on Thursday that his plans to return to Australia via Doha got “cancelled” as that travel corridor had been shut.

With Australia banning direct flights from India, Reiffel had packed his bags, planning to fly through Qatar.

“I tried to, but the flight through Doha, I wasn’t able to go through as an Australian,” Reiffel told Sydney Morning Herald and the The Age on Thursday. “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.”

ESPNcricinfo understands Reiffel will not be standing on Thursday evening’s contest in Ahmedabad between Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders. Reiffel has told the IPL that he has put on hold his plans to return home and will continue to officiate for the rest of the tournament.

In Reiffel’s absence the IPL has appointed Yashwant Barde as the on-field umpire along with Anil Chaudhry.

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo

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