Australian cricket players arrive in Sydney after fleeing Covid-hit India

SYDNEY: Australian cricketers have arrived in Sydney on Monday more than a week after fleeing Covid-stricken India for the Maldives.

Players including Steve Smith and David Warner were on board an Air Seychelles plane that landed in Sydney at about 7:30 am today, the National broadcaster ABC reported.

A group of 38 players, coaches, officials and TV commentators had reportedly been staying in the Maldives, after leaving India on May 6 aboard a charter flight arranged and paid for by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Earlier, the Australian authorities lifted a temporary ban that threatened people attempting to return from India with jail, paving the way for the cricketers to return.

On Sunday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the cricketers had not been given any special treatment and would be coming back “under their own steam, on their own ticket”.

They are now expected to undergo 14 days of quarantine in a Sydney hotel, as part of strict border controls that have largely contained the spread of the virus in Australia.

Andrew Tye,  Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa had left their IPL teams ahead of the larger Australian contingent and were due to have completed quarantine last week.

Earlier, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had indefinitely postponed the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 after several players and support staff tested positive for COVID-19.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Tuesday in an advisory said the Indian Premier League Governing Council (IPL GC) and BCCI in an emergency meeting unanimously decided to postpone IPL 2021 season, with immediate effect.

The board said, “The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organizing the IPL. This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and wellbeing of all the stakeholders in mind,” it added.

India reported more than 320,000 new cases of COVID-19 and 4,300 deaths on Monday, with the official number of the virus fatalities in the nation of 1.2 billion people now exceeding 260,000. 

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