IPL 2021: Umpire Nitin Menon pulls out, Paul Reiffel stranded in India

Nitin Menon and Paul Reiffel
Nitin Menon and Paul Reiffel
Suryesh M

Umpire Nitin Menon has decided to pull out of the remainder of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) season. Another umpire, Paul Reiffel, wanted to return home to Australia but is currently stranded in India.

Their decision comes as the Covid-19 second wave ravages India, with both of them having to deal with different problems.

Nitin Menon's mother and wife have tested positive for Covid-19. Thus the 37-year-old has flown back home to Indore to look after his child. He officiated in six games this season in the Chennai leg.

“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,” a BCCI official told Indian Express.

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Paul Reiffel stuck in India due to travel restrictions

Paul Reiffel was all set to return home and even booked his tickets to Sydney from Doha. But just 10 minutes before leaving the bio-secure IPL bubble, he was informed that he would have to prolong his stay in India due to travel restrictions.

“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 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. I thought I’d take the opportunity when I could, because you don’t know what’s going to happen later on.”

Local backup umpires to officiate the games that Nitin Menon and Paul Reiffel will miss

While the absence of world-class umpires like Nitin Menon and Paul Reiffel will be a huge loss, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has got backup options in place. Local umpires, who have been put up as stand-by, will be officiating the games that Nitin Menon and Paul Reiffel were scheduled to officiate.

"The BCCI already had several local umpires as backup so they will be officiating in games in which Nitin Menon and Reiffel were scheduled to stand," a BCCI official told Indian Express.

Cricketers Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa, and Liam Livingstone have already withdrawn from the tournament. While the three Australians feared being locked down in India at the end of the tournament, Livingstone left due to bubble fatigue. India's Ravichandran Ashwin also left the bio-bubble to stand with his family in these tough times.

Also Read | Adam Zampa says India doesn't feel as safe as UAE after leaving the bio-bubble

The BCCI, meanwhile, has assured all the players taking part in the tournament that they will arrange for the return of the cricketers to their respective homes. The IPL 2021 schedule will end on 30 May 2021.

Edited by Sankalp Srivastava
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