Australian bowler Andrew Tye has given a grim account of his recent experience in India after fleeing the sub-continent country ravaged by a fresh COVID-19 outbreak.
With more than 350,000 cases and 2,750 deaths per day, three Australian players have left their IPL teams in recent days.
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Rajasthan Royals paceman Tye was lucky enough to get out of India and back home before Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison announced a travel ban on Tuesday.
The federal government has halted all direct commercial and repatriation flights from India to Australia until May 15, with the measures set to be reviewed closer to that date.
Two other Aussie players, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson, have been left stranded in Mumbai after being unable to leave the country before the travel ban came into effect.
Tye's IPL franchise the Rajasthan Royals helped him board a flight back to Sydney, where he will spend 14 days in quarantine before heading home to his family in Perth.
Speaking from his hotel after touching down in Australia, Tye said the IPL biosecurity bubbles shielded the players from many of the horrors that are going on in India.
"Inside the bubble it's incredibly safe and we are very well looked after," he said.
"It's just the craziness of what's going on outside of it, we get incredibly well sheltered from, that's a bit harrowing.
"You can drive through the streets and not see any of it but then you look on the news and you see what's happening and it's just stark in comparison to what they are actually saying."
With the Covid-19 death toll continuing to rise in India at an alarming rate and hospital being overrun in many of the major cities, crematoriums have been forced to build makeshift funeral pyres to cremate the dead.
Tye admitted the recent COVID-19 outbreak had left India in a "dire state" and suggested that the amount of cases and deaths in the country, could be much higher than what the official numbers suggest.
"[There are] 350,000 cases a day, and that's only the ones that are being recorded," he said.
"I dare say it's probably, if not double, possibly even triple for the ones that don't have the chance to be able to get tested or even counted."
The IPL is scheduled to finish on May 31, with any extension of the federal government's travel ban likely to create substantial headaches for Cricket Australia.
Uncertainty for Aussie stars in India
A group of almost 40 Australian players, coaches, umpires and broadcast staff may yet return home via an end-of-tournament charter flight, but that would require government approval.
"One of the reasons for the pause was to give our hotel quarantine a little bit of space because of the load we've seen out of India," federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck told ABC radio on Wednesday.
"There aren't any decisions that have been made yet with respect to (approval for a charter flight for) the cricketers."
The most immediate priority for CA and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA) in their talks with federal government is Zampa and Richardson.
The pair followed the lead of Tye in cutting their IPL stints short, wanting to return home because of India's COVID-19 crisis.
They were expected to fly from Mumbai to Doha on a commercial flight that departed on Wednesday morning then seek to return home.
The Aussie PM claimed on Tuesday that indirect journeys from India to Australia would be impossible during coming weeks because stopover ports, like Qatar, would also block travellers.
"We've been in constant dialogue with them (Zampa and Richardson). As you'd imagine, they're in a difficult position," ACA chief executive Todd Greenberg told 2GB.
"We've got to try to find out some more information.
"There were a few guys who were quite anxious to get home, everyone's got their own individual story."
Greenberg said the majority of players feel "really comfortable" in the tournament's biosecurity bubble and intend to finish their commitment.
The Prime Minister has declared that Australians involved in the IPL would not jump the queue for repatriation flights.
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