This week there has been a lot of attention on New Zealand cricketers playing in the India’s suspended IPL and their plight to get home or to England for the up-coming two test tour.
The whole IPL operation had wrapped itself in a big bubble in the hope of continuing even as India is devastated by a horrific second wave of Covid 19. Since reality struck and the tournament’s suspension, the media have keep us regularly updated on their changing travel schedules as charter flights paid for by their franchise owners depart India.
I’m relieved that these cricketers, commentators and coaches are safely out of a dangerous situation - but I can’t help thinking of the other New Zealanders who also traveled to India who’ve found themselves unexpectedly unable to return home to their families.
In particular I think of Uppkar Kashyup, who we spoke to last week. Uppkar’s father passed away from Covid at the age of 57 and he travelled to India to help his mother and grandmother with the funeral.
As I said last week, when you decide to travel you risk rules changing while you’re away. Over the last year returning to New Zealand hasn’t been easy for many, it’s been inconvenient and often unfair.
This truth has really been on show this week.
This isn’t a crack at the kiwi cricketers, coaches and commentators working in India – they haven’t complained or asked for public help, and they’re aware they made a choice with risks. They are fortunate that they’re employed by some of the wealthiest people in the world with resources that can solve problems and they’re supported by New Zealand Cricket, the Players Association, and their managers.
What I would like to see now for the 200 or so Kiwis stuck in India is more of that kind of support. The kind that finds a solution; the kind that reassures you’ve not been forgotten.
When I spoke to Uppkar last week he’d received no assistance or contact from the NZ government. Mr Kashyup doesn’t want a handout; he is happy to pay for a flight home. What he is asking for is help finding options to get back to his home and family.
This week we tried to get an update from his wife in New Zealand, and haven’t heard back. I’m hoping good news is on the way.
One of the government’s many catchphrase over the last 12 months or so has been that ‘we’re a team of 5 million’. We can see the cricketer fraternity looking after each other as all good teams know they must do. I’m not sure the rest of the kiwis in India trying to get home would feel the same.