Australian IPL stars may be forced to exile in Maldives
CAPE TOWN - Australia’s cricketers, coaches and commentators could reportedly be forced into exile in the Maldives after the 2021 Indian Premier League was suspended on Tuesday due to the rampant Covid-19 outbreak in India.
About 9 000 Australian citizens are not allowed to return home after the Australian federal government last week paused travel from India to Australia until May 15. Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association has since stated they will “not seek exemptions” from the government.
"Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association understand the decision of the BCCI to indefinitely postpone the 2021 Indian Premier League for the safety and wellbeing of all participants," the joint statement read.
"CA is in direct contact with the BCCI as they work through plans to ensure the safe accommodation and repatriation of Australian players, coaches, match officials and commentators back home to Australia.
"CA and the ACA respect the decision of the Australian Government to pause travel from India until at least May 15 and will not seek exemptions. CA and the ACA thank the BCCI for their efforts and cooperation for the safe repatriation of all participants at the IPL."
"We will continue to listen to feedback from those on the ground in India and the advice of the Australian Government. Our thoughts are with the people of India at this difficult time."
India's tally of Covid-19 infections surged past 20 million on Tuesday, following 357 229 new cases over the last 24 hours, as the country battles a second wave of the disease.
The Board of Control of Cricket in India had been under increasingly severe pressure to suspend the lucrative T20 tournament following several positive Covid-19 cases across franchises over the past couple of days.
Sunrisers Hyderabad, who was previously captained by Australian opener David Warner, had wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha test positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday. The Kolkata Knight Riders also had two players test positive forcing Australian fast bowlers Pat Cummins and Ben Cutting into isolation. The Chennai Super Kings have also had two members of staff register cases.
Former Australia Test opener Michael Slater, who was part of the commentary team in India, has, however, already left for the South Asian tropical island. This was not, though, before the 51-year-old publicly rebuked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, claiming that “It's a disgrace!!” that Australians could not return home and that Morrison has “blood on his hands” while also questioning Australia’s quarantine system.
If our Government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home. It's a disgrace!! Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this. How about you sort out quarantine system. I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect— Michael Slater (@mj_slats) May 3, 2021
Morrison has since responded saying Slater’s comments are “absurd”.
Meanwhile, Cricket South Africa released a statement that all South African players and support staff returning from the IPL will undergo home quarantine in line with the current World Health Organisation recommendations.