A chartered flight to bring back Australian cricketers after the IPL in India is under consideration, the country’s players’ union said on Wednesday, even as Sports Minister Richard Colbeck made it clear that such a decision does not had not yet been authorized by the Down Under government.
Australian Cricket Association (ACA) chief Todd Greenberg said Cricket Australia would talk to IPL franchise owners about the arrangement, but admitted it would not be a simple thing.
“This is one of the conversations we are having with Cricket Australia right now to see if this is something that is available to us,” Greenberg told 2GB radio, as quoted by ‘Sydney Morning Herald’.
“We can also work with all the owners of the Premier League franchises who actually contract the players. There is definitely a conversation to be had about this, ”he added.
“These are not easy things to organize, as you might imagine. If we can try to find a seamless approach to getting them home safely, that’s something between us and CA and our players that we’ll be working on.
BCCI has already assured foreign IPL recruits that their safe return will be their responsibility once the tournament ends on May 30. India is facing an explosion of COVID-19 cases and the country’s health infrastructure has been strained in the face of hundreds of thousands of people a day. new cases.
“Rest assured that the tournament is not over for BCCI until each of you makes it home safe and sound,” Indian Board COO Hemang Amin said in a letter on Tuesday. addressed to players.
Such a chartered flight would require approval from the Australian government and Colbeck said no decision has yet been made on it.
“No decision has yet been made regarding (the approval of a charter flight for) cricketers,” Colbeck told ABC radio.
“One of the reasons for the break was to give our hotel some quarantine space due to the load we saw coming from India,” he said.
As a second wave of COVID-19 infections hit India, the Australian government on Tuesday suspended air travel with the country in addition to asking players to make their “own arrangements” for the return.
Even before this announcement, fear of being locked out prompted Andrew Tye to take an early morning flight to Australia with Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa.
Mumbai Indians’ Australian batsman Chris Lynn also said he hoped Cricket Australia would arrange a chartered flight for those who stayed.
As of today, the IPL still has 14 Australian players, including big names like Steve Smith (Delhi Capitals), David Warner (SunRisers Hyderabad) and Cummins.
Ricky Ponting (DC) and Simon Katich (Royal Challengers Bangalore) are among Australia’s top coaches, while iconic former players such as Matthew Hayden, Brett Lee and Lisa Sthalekar are on the tournament’s commentary team.
The ACA chief, however, said players will not seek any preferential treatment and queue if and when the Australian government evacuates its citizens from India. About 9,000 Australians are in India trying to return home.
“One thing I can tell you is that our players don’t expect to look for specific favors,” said Greenberg.
“There are no free rides or expectations from our players. What they are looking for is the right information so that they can plan accordingly.
Greenberg said the majority of players felt “really comfortable” in the tournament’s biosecurity bubble and intended to end their engagement.
However, they remain understandably worried about what will happen beyond the final.
“They are all quite anxious. They’re in one of the biggest hot spots we’ve seen since COVID. They can’t wait to get home at the end.
“But also anxious to see how beautiful India has been… and they see such devastation.”