Cricket Australia have confirmed that no arrangements have been made by them for the IPL-bound Aussies to return to the country and have revealed that they are in direct contact with the BCCI to ensure ‘safe accommodation’ of the players. The Australian players are now expected to head to Maldives.
A barrage of COVID cases has brought the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to a halt, but while Indian players will be reunited with their families in no time, that won’t quite be the case with regards to the Australian cricketers. On April 27, Australia banned all direct passenger flights from India until May 15 and later confirmed that anyone entering Australia directly from India or anyone who happened to be in India within 14 days of their intended arrival to Australia will face a hefty fine or a potential jail-term.
The announcement created anxiety amongst the IPL-bound Aussies in India - players, coaches, commentators - and it even led to Mumbai Indians’ Chris Lynn reaching out to Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers Association (ACA), asking them to arrange a special chartered flight for the IPL-bound Aussies in order to ensure their safe return.
However, despite IPL 2021 having gotten abruptly cancelled, there will be no exemptions made for the IPL-bound Aussies as the CA and ACA have confirmed in a joint statement that they “respect the decision of the Australian Government to pause travel from India”. In the statement, CA and ACA revealed that they will be in constant touch with the BCCI to ensure the safe accommodation of the players, but insisted that they won’t be making arrangements for the players to get back home.
"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."
According to renowned journalist Dan Brettig, this announcement means that the IPL-bound Aussies currently stuck in India will be heading to the Maldives and will be spending up to 14 days in the country. They will be following the suit of commentator Michael Slater, who also flew to the Maldives and lashed out at the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for failing to take care of Australian citizens.
“A mass exodus of Australian players, coaches and support staff to the Maldives is the expected remedy to a dilemma created by the postponement of the 2021 IPL and the current closure of the national border to citizens in India during its rampant Covid-19 outbreak,” Brettig was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo.