When Steve Smith and David Warner pressured naïve Cameron Bancroft into doctoring a ball with sandpaper during a Test three years ago, I thought the image of Australian cricketers couldn’t sink any lower.
I was wrong.
When I read that Brisbane Heat captain Chris Lynn had asked the Australian Cricket Board to organise and pay for a charter flight to repatriate Australians playing in the Indian Premier League, I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Especially when Lynn also revealed that he and other IPL players were jumping the queue to receive COVID jabs next week.
And it got worse. It turned out that Lynn had made his request before prime minister Scott Morrison’s announcement on Tuesday that all flights from India to Australia had been cancelled following over 350,00 positive cases of COVID being recorded the previous day.
Cameron Bancroft rubs sandpaper on the ball during a Test match against South Africa in 2018
Steve Smith (right) and Cameron Bancroft (left) speak to the media in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal
David Warner (right) with his wife Candice Warner touch down in Sydney in March 2018 following the ball-tampering incident
So he wasn’t even saying that he and his 16 fellow IPL mercenaries needed an emergency airlift to escape immediately from virus-ravaged India.
He was requesting that the flight be arranged to take off after the IPL finishes next month.
Or, put another way, after the likes of Lynn, Smith, Warner, Pat Cummins, Glenn Maxwell and co have collected their full pay packets.
And hefty pay packets they are too.
Cummins’ contract is worth $3.16 million, Maxwell is on $2.52 million, Warner $2.3 million, and Chris Lynn $406,000.
Smith, after a poor season last year, dropped from $2.5 million to a mere $360,000, which is still reasonable money when you consider that the IPL runs from April 10 to May 30 – a maximum of seven weeks one day for teams making the final.
Nice work if you can get it.
Batsman Chris Lynn (pictured with partner Karlie), who is earning about $357,000 playing in the Indian Premier League for the Mumbai Indians, has led calls for Cricket Australia to organise a plane to get players out of India
David Warner and Kane Williamson are seen in full PPE as they travel on a plane during the IPL
Pat Cummins, pictured with his fiancee Becky Boston, has donated $50,000 amid India’s devastating Covid crisis
And incredibly, they are still getting it, with the IPL continuing to be played and generating enormous amounts of money while bodies are lining up on the streets of Indian cities and towns.
Yet Lynn is crying poor. His reasoning being that the ACB takes a 10 percent cut of all Australian IPL contracts, meaning a commission this year of just over $1.6 million.
That’s money that goes towards funding junior cricket and to insure against the risk of Australia’s top players being injured while playing in a privately run competition amongst other things, but which he believes could be best spent flying some of Australia’s highest-paid athletes home from India.
Well here’s another idea, maybe the players could spend some of $16.3 million they are picking up for less than two months work on paying for their own flights.
After all, Lynn and the others chose to travel to India during a pandemic to reap the rich rewards on offer.
As Prime Minister Morrison so rightly pointed out when declaring that they would be getting no special treatment to return home, they aren’t part of a team representing Australia. They are individuals representing no-one but themselves.
Glenn Maxwell (pictured with his partner Vinni) remains in India for the IPL
Lee (left) is in India commentating the IPL. He recently announced he would donate 1 Bitcoin, about $71,000, to Crypto Relief
There are 36 Australian cricketers, coaches and commentators in India for the IPL, including leading Test players Steve Smith (pictured) and David Warner
Perhaps Lynn – like Pat Cummins who has put $50,000 of his massive salary towards providing much needed oxygen for the desperately under-resourced Indian health system – could look outside the IPL bubble for a moment and think of someone other than himself.
Not that he and the other pampered IPL players are even close to the human disaster going on around them, as they stay in fully quarantined luxury accommodation, play in empty stadiums and are flown to and from matches in private jets.
As former Test skipper Ricky Ponting, one of three Australians coaching in the IPL, said: ‘We right now are probably the safest people in the country.’
Certainly a lot safer than the other 9000 Australians stranded in India – 650 said to be ‘vulnerable’.
And it’s not as if they didn’t have a chance to get out before flights were cancelled. Three Australian players – Andrew Tye, Andrew Zampa and Kane Richardson – all headed home at their own expense last weekend.
Lynn and the others chose to stay, and they will just have to face up to whatever confronts them when the IPL gravy train grinds to a halt in a few short weeks’ time.
Because when the last ball is bowled on May 30, they’ll be exactly the same as all the other 9000 desperate Australians trying to get out of India.
Just better paid.
Smith was purchased for $390,000 at February’s auction to represent the Delhi Capitals
Ricky Ponting, one of three Australians coaching in the IPL, said: ‘We right now are probably the safest people in the country’
David Warner is pictured with his wife Candice, who is in Australia with their children