Adam Zampa pulls out of IPL over mental health: RCB and Australia spinner cuts short 2021 season

Australia spinner Adam Zampa has cut his Indian Premier League (IPL) season short to prioritise his mental health.

Zampa is one of three Australian cricketers to pull out of the lucrative T20 tournament which has continued despite the steepening coronavirus crisis in the south Asian nation.

The 29-year-old, who plays for IPL side Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), said a confluence of factors had led to his withdrawal but he ultimately decided the extra pay was not worth the risk for his wellbeing.

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“I feel like for anyone leaving halfway through a tournament, it’s definitely a financial sacrifice,” he said.

“But from my point of view I wanted to put my mental health first.

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“Obviously the COVID situation over here is pretty dire. I just felt, rocking up to training and stuff, obviously, I wasn’t playing in the team as well, I was going to training and I wasn’t finding the motivation.

“[There were] a few other things like bubble fatigue and the chance to get home, once all the news broke about the flights and everything. I thought this was the best time to make the call.”

The two other Australian cricketers who headed home were Kane Richardson, who plays for RCB, and Andrew Tye, who was with the Rajasthan Royals.

Australia on Tuesday suspended direct flights from India until at least May 15 to prevent more virulent coronavirus strains entering the country.

The nation’s cricketers will not be allowed to jump the queue for repatriation flights when they resume, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

Dozens of Australians remain involved in the tournament as players, coaches, officials and commentators.

The regular IPL season ends on May 23, with playoffs to follow before the final on May 30.

Governing body Cricket Australia said in a statement late on Tuesday it would continue to “liaise” with the Australian government and monitor the situation.

India recorded 323,144 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and 2,771 deaths, taking the total death toll to 197,894.

‘Australians in IPL anxious about getting home’

Australians involved in the IPL are “anxious” about how they will get home from the tournament.

“As you’d imagine, they’re all pretty anxious,” Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive Todd Greenberg told Sydney radio station 2GB.

“They’re in probably one of the biggest hotspots that we’ve seen since COVID so we’re just trying to make sure that they’re all safe and secure and they can fulfil their commitments and … we can get them home as soon as we can.”

Tye flew home over the weekend but compatriots Zampa and Richardson had been unable to exit India, Greenberg confirmed.

“They’re in a difficult position so we’ve got to try to find out some more information this morning,” he said.

Batsman Chris Lynn, who plays for Mumbai Indians, said this week he had asked governing body Cricket Australia (CA) to arrange a charter flight to bring players home after the IPL season ends.

Greenberg said the players union was in “conversations” with CA and authorities about that option and would also look to work with IPL club owners on players’ travel arrangements.

“Our players are under no expectations for looking for specific favours… there’s no free rides,” he said.

“What we’re trying to do is work really closely with Cricket Australia … and with government, just trying to get all the right information so we can fill them with some confidence that they will be taken care of at the right time.”

The 2021 IPL season is live on Sky Sports Cricket. Watch Chennai Super Kings face Sunrisers Hyderabad from 3pm on Wednesday, April 28.

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