Aussie cricketers touch down in Sydney after Covid chaos in India

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Australia's IPL contingent, pictured here touching down in Sydney.
Australia's IPL contingent touched down in Sydney on Monday morning. Image: Getty/Twitter

The majority of Australia's 38-strong Indian Premier League contingent has touched down in Sydney almost two weeks after the T20 cricket tournament was suspended due to Covid-19.

Players, coaches and commentators caught a charter flight from the Maldives that touched down at Sydney Airport on Monday morning.

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Test great Mike Hussey, who remained in India to self-isolate after contracting the virus recently, is expected to arrive later on Monday via a commercial flight from Qatar.

The cricket contingent will now spend a fortnight in NSW's hotel-quarantine system, with no exemptions or concessions afforded to them.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday the "NSW government is happy for them to come in over the cap (on return travellers)".

The IPL - the world's richest cricket tournament - was suspended on May 4 because of Covid-19 cases among players and support staff.

Some of Australia's leading cricketers - including Steve Smith, David Warner and Pat Cummins - travelled to India on big-money contracts to take part in the lucrative tournament.

But the Australian contingent was forced to flee to the Maldives on May 6 via a charter flight that was organised and funded by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The group's journey home was stalled by the Morrison government's ban on travellers from India.

Kane Williamson and David Warner, pictured here on board a flight in India early in the IPL.
Kane Williamson and David Warner on board a flight in India early in the IPL. Image: Instagram

Cricketers haven't received special treatment

Morrison confirmed their imminent return on Sunday, insisting the cricket contingent had not been afforded any special treatment.

"They haven't been given any (special dispensation)," the Prime Minister said.

"NSW government is happy for them to come in over the cap. That's something we insisted upon and they were happy to agree with that.

"But they'll come back under their own steam, on their own ticket.

"They won't be taking the spot in quarantine of any other Australian who is returning home under the NSW caps.

"We appreciate the fact that the NSW government and Gladys Berejiklian in particular has been so strong in supporting those higher caps, but in this case, ensuring that when the cricketers come back they don't take the spot of anybody else."

Scott Morrison, pictured here speaking at a news conference in Sydney.
Scott Morrison speaks during a news conference in Sydney. (Image: Brendon Thorne/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The BCCI is believed to be funding travel and quarantine arrangements for Australians involved in the IPL.

Cricket Australia's interim chief executive Nick Hockley has previously insisted "we are not seeking any kind of special exemptions whatsoever".

"We will work with the Australian government and the relevant state governments to make sure we're not taking spaces of anyone else ... that is what we're committed to doing," Hockley said.

However Liberal MP Katie Allen told Channel Nine on Monday that "special provisions" are likely being made.

"At the end of the day, I think special provisions sound like they're being made," she told the Today Show.

"These people are representing Australia.

"At the end of the day this is a small group of people and it's important we continue to bring as many Australians back as possible.

"This is increasing the cap a bit to help us through this period."

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Today host Ally Langdon questioned why the cricketers were being brought back before other Aussies stranded in India.

"Why is going overseas for work any different for going over for a family reason, say you've got a loved one who has passed away or a sick," Langdon asked.

"I would actually think that's a more important reason to leave the country than going over for what these cricketers have done?"

with AAP

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