Wednesday, September 22, 2021

PM rules out special arrangements for Australian cricketers in India amid COVID-19 crisis

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says Australian cricketers still based in India will not receive special treatment once repatriation flights between the two countries resume.

India is dealing with a record-breaking COVID-19 outbreak. Flights from India have been paused until May 15.

Several Australian cricketers are still in India playing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) — which is scheduled to finish on May 31 — including Steve Smith, Pat Cummins and David Warner.

Andrew Tye is already in Australia, while Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson have withdrawn from the tournament but as of Tuesday afternoon were yet to leave India, according to Cricket Australia’s (CA) website.

Mr Morrison said once repatriation flights resumed the government’s priority would be the most vulnerable people. He said special arrangements would not be made for cricketers when they wanted to return to Australia.

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“They travelled there privately. This wasn’t part of an Australian tour,” Mr Morrison told a media conference this afternoon.

“They’re there under their own resources. And they’ll be using those resources too, I’m sure, to see them return to Australia in accordance with their own arrangements.”

CA and the Australian Cricketers’ Association released a statement on Monday saying they were in “regular contact” with Australia players, coaches and commentators taking part in the IPL.

They said the IPL was being “conducted under strict biosecurity protocols” and they would listen to feedback from the federal government.

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Tye was the first Australian to return home from the IPL.

He is undergoing 14 days of quarantine in Sydney before he travels back to Perth to reunite with his family.

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“I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to get out on a commercial flight and get home quickly,” Tye told the ABC.

Tye said he did not regret the financial sacrifice he had made by leaving the IPL early.

“It’s the least of my concerns,” he said.

“My wellbeing was paramount and that’s what I’ve done.”

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