Melbourne: Former Australia captain Mark Taylor is surprised that "so many" of his compatriots have stayed back in India to fulfill their IPL commitments amid a raging pandemic, especially someone like Steve Smith who does not have "as big a contract as it probably should have been."
As many as 14 Australian players along with some coaches and commentators were in India to participate in the IPL, from which three players of the country had pulled out owing to the unprecedented COVID-19 surge.
"I was a little surprised that so many of the Australians went over there. If you're Pat Cummins, he's on something around (Rs 15.5 crore), so that's very hard to knock back for six weeks of playing cricket," Taylor said during a discussion on 'Channel 9'.
"Steve Smith was an interesting one because his contract was about Australian dollars 350,000 (Rs 2.2 crore with Delhi Capitals), which is not to be sneered at but for a guy like Steve Smith, it's not as big a contract as it probably should have been. I was surprised he decided to go."
Taylor also ridiculed another Australian payer, Mumbai Indians' Chris Lynn, for suggesting that Cricket Australia should arrange a chartered flight to bring back players at the end of the tournament.
Lynn had said that since Cricket Australia takes a percentage of its players' IPL earnings, it should work towards bringing them back. Taylor called the comment "very rich".
"I think Chris Lynn's comments were very rich, absolutely," Taylor said on Sports Sunday.
"The 10 percent Cricket Australia does receive from a player's contract over there surely has got something to do with actually providing the cricketer with some coaching, education along the way to become an IPL-worthy cricketer."
Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson returned home from the IPL as India's fresh COVID-19 cases hit record highs but Taylor said most of the Australian players and coaches seemed comfortable at this point.
"Ponting is over there, Warner, Brett Lee there. Good mates of mine, Brad Haddin, Trevor Bayliss are coaching over there. I haven't heard much from them apart from that, they're there to see (out) the end of the tournament," Taylor said.
"A lot of the players have actually said they feel comfortable in the bubble they're in; but what they would like once the tournament's over...
"I think the Australian players and coaches are hoping that they'll get home ASAP. That is what they're after at this stage."
The IPL ends on 30 May.
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Gayle (13) and Malan (26) batted at number three and four respectively as Punjab lost the match by seven wickets after making 166 for six.
The amount will be used to procure essential medical supplies, ranging from oxygen cylinders and concentrators to COVID wellness kits.
Earlier this week, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a temporary ban on arrivals from India due to the worsening coronavirus outbreak, leaving thousands of Australians - including high-profile cricketers - stranded.