How Aussie cricketers beat Scott Morrison's India travel ban

·4-min read
Pictured here, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson share a laugh after posing for a photo.
Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson are quarantining in Melbourne after arriving home from India last week. Pic: Getty

Aussie cricketer Adam Zampa has shed light on exactly how he and compatriot Kane Richardson managed to beat Scott Morrison's travel ban by flying home from India last week.

The Australian Prime Minister announced last week that incoming travellers from India would be banned from entering the country until at least May 15.

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Mr Morrison threatened heavy punishments - including jail time - for anyone found to be in breach of the strict border measures.

It comes as India struggles to contain a devastating new outbreak of Covid-19 that has seen new cases soar well above 300,000-per-day over the last week.

Royal Challengers Bangalore duo Zampa and Richardson last week fled the IPL, returning home via Qatar after it initially appeared they had been stranded in Mumbai because of the Australian government ban.

However, Zampa has now revealed how he and Richardson slipped out of India and back to Australia, before it was too late.

“Kane and I have obviously been in the news a lot about how we got home on that Doha flight,” he told SEN from hotel quarantine in Melbourne.

“As soon as we made the decision to leave, we told Simon Katich, who is the RCB coach, and he was fully supportive of it. And then we just spoke to the RCB management about getting us home.

“They booked through an affiliated travel agent and we got given the itinerary. I got it on my Qantas app. So we just followed the itinerary and that’s basically it.

“That’s as in-depth as it goes.”

Any Australian attempting that journey now risks jail time and fines but the prime minister said such sanctions were "extremely remote".

Some Australian players remain hopeful commercial flights will resume by the end of the month while others are considering contingency plans that involving a two-week stopover in another nation. 

Former Test cricketer-turned commentator Michel Slater is working in India for the IPL and insisted the Morrison government had blood on their hands after banning citizens from returning from the country.

Seen here, Australian PM Scott Morrison and Test cricket legend Michael Slater.
Michael Slater has blasted Scott Morrison over the India travel ban. Image: Getty

Slater's comments came as the IPL's biosecurity bubble was breached by multiple COVID-19 cases, including two teammates of Pat Cummins.

Test vice-captain Cummins and his Kolkata Knight Riders teammate and fellow Australian Ben Cutting were slated to face Royal Challengers Bangalore in Ahmedabad on Monday night.

But the game was postponed after Kolkata's Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive for coronavirus.

Cummins, Cutting and compatriot David Hussey, a member of Kolkata's support staff, are isolating in India.

If the IPL was suspended, Cummins and others among a group of almost 40 Australian players, coaches and officials will be stuck in India because of the Morrison government's travel ban.

PM fires back after scathing Slater criticism

Slater, who had been commentating in India and is attempting to return to Australia, launched a tirade against the prime minister on Monday night.

"If our government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home. It's a disgrace!!," Slater wrote on Twitter.

"Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this."

But Morrison hit back at the former cricketer on Tuesday when asked on the Nine Network's Today Show if he had blood on his hands.

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"No, that is obviously absurd," Morrison said.

"We have a temporary pause in place because we have seen a rapid escalation in the infection rate of people who have travelled out of India that is putting enormous pressure on our system and we need to ensure we can bring people safely home from India.

"It's a pause to May 15."

Cummins is playing a central role in logistical discussions between stressed Australian cricketers, Cricket Australia (CA) and the players' union, the Australian Cricketers' Association.

A potential charter flight, which would need to be approved by federal government, has formed part of those talks.

However CA chief executive Nick Hockley said on Monday "there's no suggestion at the moment of any charter flight".

Complicating matters is Australia's limited-overs tour of the West Indies in June, with Cummins and other stars facing a tight turnaround if their homecoming is delayed.

with AAP

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