Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis and Moises Henriques were among the Australians at the IPL.© Capitals of Delhi / Twitter
Australian cricketers returned to Sydney on a charter flight on Monday, more than a week after fleeing Covid-hit India to the Maldives, local media reported. Cricket authorities rushed to evacuate players and support staff after the lucrative Indian Premier League was suspended earlier this month, as cases of the coronavirus increased in the country. National broadcaster TBEN reported that players, including Steve Smith and David Warner, were on an Air Seychelles plane that landed in Sydney around 7:30 a.m. local time.
A group of 38 players, coaches, officials and television commentators are believed to have stayed in the Maldives, having left India on May 6 on a charter flight organized and paid for by the Cricket Control Board in India.
Two days ago, the Australian government lifted a temporary ban that threatened citizens who attempted to return from India with jail, paving the way for the group’s return.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday that cricketers had received no special treatment and would come back “on their own, on their own ticket”.
They are now expected to undergo 14 days of quarantine at a Sydney hotel, under strict border controls that have largely contained the spread of the virus in Australia.
Adam Zampa, Andrew Tye and Kane Richardson had left their IPL squads before Australia’s largest contingent and were due to complete quarantine last week.
The IPL began in early April with the decision to move forward in the face of an increasingly serious health crisis, which drew criticism from some observers, while others defended it. as a welcome distraction for the beleaguered Indian public.
India reported more than 310,000 new infections and 4,000 deaths on Sunday, with the country’s official Covid death toll of 1.3 billion now surpassing 250,000.
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