SYDNEY, May 4: Australian players stranded at the postponed Indian Premier League (IPL) will either stay back in India or move to a third country as Cricket Australia (CA) and Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) on Tuesday made it clear that they would not seek exemptions to their national government’s norms.
The Australian government has suspended all flights from India till May 15, leaving around 9,000 Aussies, including cricketers and former cricketers in IPL, stranded in the country that is reeling under the pandemic with fresh Covid-19 cases between 3.5-4 lakh being reported daily.
“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,” said their joint statement on Tuesday.
While three of the Aussie players in IPL – Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson (Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Andrew Tye (Rajasthan Royals) – left for Australia before the government imposed flight ban, the remaining cricketers stayed back.
Umpire Paul Reiffel decided to return but could not as his flight via Qatar too were cancelled. Commentator Michael Slater had to escape to Maldives and lashed out at the government that was not allowing entry to its citizens from India.
The statement added that the two Aussie bodies back Indian cricket board’s decision to postpone IPL with the CA being in direct contact with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to ensure safe passage to players.
“CA and the ACA understand the decision of the BCCI to indefinitely postpone the 2021 Indian Premier League for the safety and wellbeing of all participants,” the statement said.
“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.”
On Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison backtracked on the possibility of jailing those arriving to Australian shores from India following heavy criticism back home.
Earlier on Tuesday, BCCI had announced the postponement of IPL through a statement. The decision was made after more Covid-19 positive cases emerged in the IPL bio-bubble following those on Monday.
“The Indian Premier League Governing Council and BCCI in an emergency meeting has unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect,” said a BCCI statement.
“The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and wellbeing of all the stakeholders in mind,” it said.
The BCCI confirmed that all players will return to their families after it emerged that SunRisers Hyderabad’s(SRH) Wriddhiman Saha in Delhi and Delhi Capitals’ (DC) Amit Mishra in Ahmedabad tested positive on Tuesday.
On Monday, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) bowling coach Laxmipathy Balaji and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) bowlers Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier, had tested positive along with the ground staff at the Arun Jaitley Stadium. That forced three teams – KKR, CSK and DC to go into isolation. However, more positive cases on Tuesday made it impossible for the league to continue.