IPL: Kiwi cricket commentator Danny Morrison staying safe, as COVID-19 grips India

Kiwi cricket commentator Danny Morrison has carved an international reputation for his hyperactive game-calling style, but has tapped into his inner peace, as COVID-19 rages around him.

The former Blackcaps fast bowler is currently plying his trade in the Indian Premier League, as the world’s richest cricket competition pushes on, despite rising coronavirus cases in the second-most populated nation on the planet.

India has recorded more than 17 million cases - now up to 350,000 a day - and nearly 200,000 deaths.

Indian star Ravi Ashwin, and Aussies Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson and Andrew Tye have all withdrawn from the IPL, which is being staged within bio-security bubbles and empty stadiums.

"My family and extended family are putting up a fight against #COVID19 and I want to support them during these tough times," tweets Ashwin. "I expect to return to play, if things go in the right direction."

The Australians are adamant they won’t be back, hinting more may follow their lead, although star bowler Pat Cummins has donated $50,000 towards increasing oxygen supplies for under-siege Indian hospitals.

"At times like this, it is easy to feel helpless," he has posted on social media. "I've certainly felt that of late."

But while he's conscious of the chaos gripping India, Morrison remains relatively unscathed by the pandemic.   

"We're fortunate, in Chennai, we’re not nearly as affected, although maybe starting to escalate, sure," he tells Newshub. "Really Mumbai and Delhi are the two big hotspots - the two big centres of India.

"For us, it's coming from airports, coming at night, so we're a little bit immune to that.

"It will be interesting, because [former Australia batsman] Matthew Hayden and I are doing a road trip.There are three cars with us commentators going to another bio bubble in Bangalore and clearly cases aren’t great there either.

"We're staying in a bubble, can't get out of the car and going straight to a hotel 4-5 hours away.

"It will be fascinating to see how things are on the way."

Morrison left his family in Queensland in January and, all going well, won't return until late June, five months later.

"That's challenging in itself," he admits. "But for a lot of us that have different outlets, there becomes a routine.

"For me, that's meditation or through training - I love swimming, I love going to the gym - reading... just having some sort of plan or strategy... immersing yourself in aromatic oils.

"It can become a little monotonous, sure, but think about how many people are suffering and dying. Over the years, having come here and seen how tough it is, it lends perspective, no doubt.

"You just get on with it - there are people worse off."

Twenty-one Kiwis are currently on IPL duty:

  • Blackcaps Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Mitch Santner, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Seifert, Finn Allen, Adam Milne & Jimmy Neesham
  • Coaches Brendon McCullum, Kyle Mills, Chris Donaldson (trainer), Stephen Fleming, Shane Bond & James Pamment
  • Royal Challengers Bangalore cricket director Mike Hesson & Mumbai Indians head of scouting John Wright 
  • Commentators Danny Morrison, Simon Doull & Scott Styris 

New Zealand has a travel ban on arrivals from India - including Kiwis returning home - due to end on Wednesday, but likely to be extended, given the worsening COVID-19 situation on the subcontinent.