Cricket authorities in Australia and New Zealand rushed to evacuate star players from Covid-stricken India on Wednesday after dropping out of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL). Cricket Australia said plans are underway to bring 38 players and staff, including superstars Steve Smith, David Warner and Pat Cummins, to the relative safety of the Maldives or Sri Lanka within the “next two to three days.” . The IPL, the richest Twenty20 cricket tournament in the world, was suspended on Tuesday and players were sent home as India battles a massive increase in coronavirus cases.
But Australian cricketers have found themselves in limbo as they are barred from returning to Australia until at least May 15 after Canberra slammed its borders and threatened with jail time anyone entering from India.
The group is likely to be chartered in Australia once the ban is lifted, with help from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
“BCCI is working through arrangements to repatriate all players, support staff and referee commentators as quickly and safely as possible,” said Nick Hockley, Interim CEO of Cricket Australia.
They “are working to move the entire cohort out of India … BCCI has been working on a range of options. This is now limited to the Maldives and Sri Lanka,” Hockley added.
But the India-departing squad will not include 79-test veteran Michael Hussey, batting coach of the Chennai Super Kings, who has tested positive for coronavirus and will remain in isolation.
“His symptoms are relatively mild,” said Todd Greenberg, CEO of the Australian Cricketers’ Association.
“So he’s fine, he’s going to have a moment of isolation in his hotel room for at least 10 days, but he’s in a pretty good mood,” Greenberg added.
Warner posted a drawing of his family made by one of his daughters on Instagram, with a heartfelt caption saying, “Please daddy come home right away. We miss you very much and love us. . ” He collected nearly 850,000 “likes” in a few hours.
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On Wednesday, two other cricketers tested positive for the coronavirus, Amit Mishra and SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) wicket keeper, Amit Mishra, and Wriddhiman Saha.
Many of New Zealand’s top players are trying to make it to the UK where they are due to play a series of tests against England next month before playing in the World Test Championship (WTC) against India.
New Zealand Cricket said it was trying to organize a charter for test players Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson and Mitchell Santner, as well as three players signed alongside England County.
Britain currently only allows its own citizens to return home from India, but a New Zealand cricket spokesman said: “We are convinced we are getting exemptions at the border.”
He added that another charter flight was possible to transport players, support staff and TV commentators to their homes in New Zealand.
India, which has so far reported more than 20 million infections, with more than 220,000 deaths, is expected to host the Twenty20 World Cup from October.
The cash-rich IPL, which takes place in biosecurity “bubble” conditions, attracts many of the world’s best cricketers, including players from Australia, England and South Africa.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) said they were in contact with their players and support staff, working to get them home.
The IPL began in early April, with the decision to move forward in the face of a worsening health crisis, which drew criticism from some observers, while others defended it. as a welcome distraction.
“It has been a little uplifting at times to watch this tournament when people are dying just up the road,” former England captain Nasser Hussain told the Daily Mail.
“The mistake was made by hosting the tournament in India in the first place … Six months ago they hosted an IPL in the United Arab Emirates and it went really well. Covid rates were low and none bubble was not compromised. They could have gone back there. “, Hussain concludes.
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