IPL’s foreign cricket stars scramble to escape Covid-hit India

Thursday, May 6th, 2021 00:00 |
Relatives perform the last rites before the cremation of their loved one who died due to the Covid-19 coronavirus at a cremation ground in Allahabad on May 4, 2021. Photo/AFP

Sydney, Wednesday

Cricket authorities in Australia and New Zealand rushed to evacuate star players from Covid-hit India on Wednesday, after the lucrative Indian Premier League was abandoned.

Cricket Australia said plans were under way to fly 38 players and staff including superstars Steve Smith, David Warner and Pat Cummins to the relative safety of the Maldives or Sri Lanka in the next “two to three days.”

The Indian Premier League, the world’s richest Twenty20 cricket tournament, was suspended on Tuesday and players were sent home, as India battles a massive surge in coronavirus cases.

But Australian cricketers found themselves in limbo  they are banned from returning Down Under until at least May 15 after Canberra slammed shut its borders and threatened anyone entering from India with jail time.

The group is likely to be chartered back to Australia once the ban has been lifted, with the help of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

“The BCCI is working through arrangements to repatriate all the players, the support staff, and umpires commentators as quickly and safely as possible,” said Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia’s interim CEO.

They are “working to move the entire cohort out of India... the BCCI has been working on a range of options. That’s now narrowed down to the Maldives and Sri Lanka.”

But the group departing India will not include 79-Test veteran Michael Hussey, the Chennai Super Kings batting coach, who has tested positive for coronavirus and will remain in isolation.

“His symptoms are relatively mild,” said Todd Greenberg, the Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive. -AFP

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