SYDNEY: Two Australian cricketers arrived back home yesterday after withdrawing from the Indian Premier League and fleeing the COVID-stricken country, circumventing a ban on flights by travelling via the Middle East. Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa flew into Melbourne from Doha and are currently undergoing quarantine, according to Cricket.com.au.
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. Zampa, Richardson and Andrew Tye then left the IPL, the world’s richest Twenty20 tournament, which is taking place in biosecure conditions behind closed doors in six cities until the end of May.
Fourteen of their compatriots remain in India with the league’s eight teams, including David Warner, Steve Smith, Pat Cummins and Glenn Maxwell. Morrison has so far rejected calls for charter flights to bring Australians home, with the ban set to remain in place until at least May 15. Australian national broadcaster ABC reported the pair had not been given special permission to fly and had booked their flights to Doha within the existing rules.
Their return follows Tye’s arrival back in Australia earlier this week. The Australians’ exit comes as India’s daily death toll from COVID-19 climbed above 3,600, while the daily infection number hit a global record at more than 379,000. The Board of Control for Cricket in India has said all players remaining in the country, who are isolated in biosecure bubbles, are “totally safe”. – AFP