Aussie returns clouded amid India flight ban
Cricket Australia in discussions with federal government after all passenger flights from India into Australia were halted on Tuesday
27 April 2021, 06:45 PM AEST
Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa's return from India is under a cloud after the Australian government paused passenger flights from India for the next three weeks due to that country's overwhelming surge of COVID-19 cases.
Cricket Australia was in discussions with the federal government after Tuesday's announcement, with officials from the governing body also in regular contact with Australians involved in the Indian Premier League.
Richardson and Zampa's IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore announced Monday that the pair would be withdrawing from the lucrative T20 tournament and returning to Australia for "personal reasons".
The federal government will review the pause on flights closer to May 15 as they seek to help approximately 8,000 Australians return home from India, where the army has been called in to help overwhelmed hospitals amid a deadly second wave of coronavirus infections.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Richardson and Zampa were still in Mumbai.
The pause on direct flights from India will be in place until May 15. The IPL final is scheduled for May 30 and the last regular-season game set for May 23.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australians who have travelled to India for the IPL, which include 16 players as well as a number of coaches and broadcasters, would not be given priority to return.
"They've travelled there privately, it wasn't part of an Australian tour," said Morrison.
"They're under their own resources and they'll be using those resources, I'm sure, to return to Australia in accordance with their own arrangements."
Safety first: David Warner and Kane Williamson in full PPE as the Sunrisers head to Delhi #IPL2021 📷: @davidwarner31 pic.twitter.com/Y52kMUsD16— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) April 27, 2021
Richardson and Zampa's decision to come home early from the IPL came after countryman Andrew Tye flew from Mumbai to Sydney via Doha due to concerns he might get "locked out of the country".
Other Australian cricketers like national men's team vice-captain Pat Cummins, who announced he had donated $50,000 to an Indian COVID-19 charity on Monday, have indicated their willingness to stay for the remainder of the tournament.
Nathan Coulter-Nile, who is playing for the Mumbai Indians, told cricket.com.au players are getting tested for the virus three times a day amid strict IPL bubble requirements.
Both CA and the Australian Cricketers' Association have been in constant communication with Australian coaches, commentators and players, who are taking part in the lucrative Twenty20 tournament while on annual leave.
Chris Lynn told News Corp that while he did not plan to return home until the end of the IPL, he wanted Cricket Australia to help fund a charter flight.
“I know there are people worse off than us," said Lynn. "But we are going from a really tight bubble and are getting vaccinated next week so hopefully the government will let us get home on a private charter.
"We are not asking for short cuts and we signed up knowing the risks. But it would be great to get home as soon as the event is over."
The eight-team IPL started with matches in Chennai and Mumbai but the tournament is now scheduled to shift to the capital Delhi, the epicentre of the surge in cases.
- with AAP