Australia’s stranded cricketers touch down in Sydney two weeks after IPL suspended

  • Majority of 38-strong group arrive on BCCI charter flight
  • Returning players come in over NSW’s quarantine cap

The majority of Australia’s stranded cricket cohort has returned home after a charter flight carrying the Indian Premier League players, coaches and broadcasters touched down in Sydney on Monday morning.

Most of the 38-strong group, who escaped to the Maldives following the postponement of the lucrative Twenty20 tournament due to the Covid crisis, arrived on a flight paid for by the BCCI, the game’s governing body in India.

The group has entered New South Wales’s quarantine system, where they have reportedly been spread across a number of different hotels and where they will stay for the next two weeks. The arrangement is believed to also have been organised and paid for by the BCCI.

State premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW government made the decision to allow the group to return following independent assessments from health and police.

Former Test batsman and now coach Mike Hussey, who tested positive for coronavirus and was forced to remain in India in self-isolation, is expected to follow later on Monday on a commercial flight via Qatar.

“We don’t give a blanket yes to anybody,” Berejiklian said. “A request was made to go over and above our cap. If we get these requests through federal government authorities or other authorities, our health and police teams make independent assessments.

“For example ... seasonal workers or other categories of people. We have received those requests and we have dealt with them through independent assessment from health and police.

“If health and police feel that we can’t go over our cap at all for a particular reason, well, that request will be denied.”

The government’s controversial travel ban expired as expected on Saturday, allowing the cricketers to finally return home two weeks after the IPL was suspended on 4 May amid the worsening crisis in India.

The supposed biosecure bubble surrounding the tournament was breached when a number of players and support staff returned positive tests, forcing organisers to concede it had become untenable.

Unlike last year, when Indian players arriving in Australia for their summer tour were allowed to train during their quarantine, no exemptions or concessions have been granted to this group.

The arrivals will come over and above the caps in place for regular returning travellers to NSW, primer minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday.

“They haven’t been given any [special dispensation],” Morrison said. “NSW government is happy for them to come in over the cap. That’s something we insisted upon and they were happy to agree with that.

“But they’ll come back under their own steam, on their own ticket. They won’t be taking the spot in quarantine of any other Australian who is returning home under the NSW caps.

“We appreciate the fact that the NSW government and Gladys Berejiklian in particular has been so strong in supporting those higher caps, but in this case, ensuring that when the cricketers come back they don’t take the spot of anybody else.”

With flights from India to Australia banned and sanctions including hefty fines and even prison time threatened for anyone attempting to make the journey, the cricketers flew to the Maldives on 6 May where they waited for the travel policy to be lifted.

Contributor

Guardian sport

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Relax! Australia’s cricket stars are back – but it’s not a double standard, right? | Dom Knight
Given the restrictions placed on Australians stuck in India, the treatment of our cricketers feels fairly nauseating

Dom Knight

18, May, 2021 @2:03 AM

Article image
Sydney to keep new year's Test match after Cricket Australia gives green light
Original Test calendar will stand, with players travelling from Sydney to Brisbane inside Covid-safe bubble

Guardian sport

29, Dec, 2020 @11:27 AM

Article image
Berala and western Sydney residents risk $1,000 fines if they attend SCG for Sydney Test
NSW health minister Brad Hazzard says he intends to sign a public health order banning people from suburbs affected by the Berala Covid cluster from attending the Sydney Test

Emma Kemp

05, Jan, 2021 @4:08 AM

Article image
NSW government stands by Sydney cricket Test as calls to ban spectators intensify
Gladys Berejiklian says NSW should ‘strive for a sense of normality’, despite misgivings from health experts

Mike Hytner

31, Dec, 2020 @2:30 AM

Article image
'All systems go' for Sydney Test as Cricket Australia presses on despite Covid uncertainty
SCG Test had been in doubt following NSW outbreak and Queensland officials are in talks over border policy

Mike Hytner

24, Dec, 2020 @6:14 AM

Article image
Fans at Sydney cricket Test must wear masks at all times inside SCG, or face $1,000 fine
Fans from two further suburbs banned from attending, as Victoria announces positive case in man who attended Boxing Day MCG Test

Emma Kemp

06, Jan, 2021 @2:16 AM

Article image
Stranded Australian cricketers to flee Covid crisis in India via Maldives or Sri Lanka
The cohort of 38 players, coaches and staff will wait for the Australian government’s travel ban to lift before taking a charter flight home

Mike Hytner

05, May, 2021 @4:58 AM

Article image
Brisbane at risk of losing fourth Test amid reports that India unhappy with Covid rules
Concerns purportedly centre around mental fatigue of players should they be confined to hotel rooms

Emma Kemp

03, Jan, 2021 @3:58 AM

Article image
Australian cricketers in limbo after IPL suspended amid India’s deepening Covid crisis
Australia’s IPL cricketers have been left in limbo after the tournament was suspended in response to India’s deepening Covid-19 crisis

Guardian sport

04, May, 2021 @11:11 AM

Article image
Former cricketer Michael Slater says Scott Morrison has ‘blood on his hands’ over India travel ban
Cricket commentator says the Coalition policy of stopping Australians from returning home is a ‘disgrace’

Guardian sport

04, May, 2021 @1:37 AM