With the 2021 season of the Indian Premier League postponed indefinitely, a mass exodus of Australian players, coaches and support staff to the Maldives is expected with Australia closing its borders for its citizens coming from the sub-continent.
“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.
“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.” .
“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,” it added.
There are close to 40 Australians currently inside the IPL bio-secure bubble spread over multiple cities. From cricketers like Steve Smith, Pat Cummins to commentators like Brett Lee and coaching staff like Ricky Ponting and James Hopes they are all inside the IPL bio-secure bubble with their respective teams. They are expected to join their compatriot Michael Slater in the Maldives as a temporary post in the wake of blanket bans on entry to Australian citizens who have recently been in India, which exists until at least May 15.
“Once we flew out of Australia we knew we’d signed up for 14 days quarantine coming home so you feel a bit further from getting home, but when the hard border shut no one has ever experienced that before,” Cummins told The Back Page on Fox Sports. “[It has] added a bit of anxiety for the Aussies over here but we signed up to play the tournament until the start of June so hopefully it all reopens on May 15 and we can get back.
“Think we are all hoping we can get home like we would normally plan and the borders open on May 15, whether it’s [a] private [flight] or not we wouldn’t be allowed back in [at the moment]. Cricket Australia have been brilliant along with the ACA, they are working closely with the government to get the latest information, if we can’t get home it won’t be for lack of trying from all those involved.”
Cricket Australia’s interim chief executive Nick Hockley, team performance chief Ben Oliver and the Australian Cricketers’ Association CEO Todd Greenberg were all in urgent meetings on Tuesday night aimed at clarifying the situation for the freelancing players.
“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,” a joint statement from CA and ACA 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. 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.”
Scott Morrison-led Australian government had announced ban travellers from India from entering Australia until May 15, threatening rule-breakers — including Australian citizens — with prison time.
However, amid a widespread backlash, Morrison on Tuesday said it was "highly unlikely" that Australians who skirted a ban would be jailed.
"I think the likelihood of any of that occurring is pretty much zero," Morrison said in a breakfast-time media blitz on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Australian all-rounder Dan Christian finds himself in a rather tricky situation. He has a deal to play in the UK later this year but the UK is currently allowing only its citizens and residents to fly in from India. Notably, Dubai, often a stopover between India and the UK, is not allowing flights from India either.