Chris Lynn has copped fierce backlash after suggesting Cricket Australia should organise a charter flight to bring Aussie cricketers home from virus-ravaged India.
The federal government announced a halt to all passenger flights from India to Australia on Tuesday, which will last until May 15.
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Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that direct commercial and repatriation flights from India had been suspended because of growing COVID-19 cases in hotel quarantine, while indirect flights would also not be possible.
The announcement came as a huge blow to Aussie cricketers playing in the Indian Premier League, while approximately 8000 Australians are also trying to return home from the subcontinent.
With more than 350,000 cases and 2,750 deaths per day, three Australian players have left their IPL teams in recent days.
And while Andrew Tye was able to get on a flight before the PM's announcement, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson have been left in limbo.
Zampa and Richardson missed the deadline to board flights to Australia but have already left their IPL team's biosecurity bubble.
That had Mumbai Indians batter Lynn calling for help from Cricket Australia.
“I texted back that as Cricket Australia make 10 per cent of every IPL contract, was there a chance we could spend that money this year on a charter flight once the tournament is over?” Lynn told News Corp this week.
“I know there are people worse off than us. But we are going from a really tight bubble and are getting vaccinated next week so hopefully the government will let us get home on a private charter.
“We are not asking for shortcuts and we signed up knowing the risks. But it would be great to get home as soon as the event is over.’’
But Lynn's request was met with backlash, with Sydney radio host Jim Wilson tweeting: “The request is absurd.
"With respect, there are bigger priorities right now than those in the IPL.”
Wilson said Lynn’s request was “a bit rich”.
Not tax payer funded but the request is absurd. With respect, there are bigger priorities right now than those in the IPL #IndiaCovid19
— Jim Wilson (@JimWilsonMedia) April 27, 2021
— Jim Wilson (@JimWilsonMedia) April 27, 2021
now chris lynn adds to the mix - wants the ACB which takes 10 pc of every oz player’s ipl earnings - to fly out all oz players on a charter, imagine their mindset and thought process at this moment, think it is senseless to play under the shadow of a raging covid
— sandeep bamzai (@sandeep_bamzai) April 27, 2021
Plenty of Aussies locked out while these guys chose to go to a COVID hotspot and now they want help to come home? Hmmm? https://t.co/1DEQk0Nsv5
— Matt Parker (@zoonmattau) April 27, 2021
Sorry but chasing the money got you in to this, pay your own way back
Chris Lynn's plea for charter flight home as Scott Morrison shuts down arrivals from COVID-ravaged India https://t.co/9KrqnId72W
— Karen Schulze (@kazza_61) April 28, 2021
Chris Lynn has urged CA to arrange a chartered flight to bring Aussie cricketers stranded in COVID-ravaged in India home at the conclusion of the IPL!
Hey @lynny50 can my family of 2 adults( fully vaccinated),1child,1infant join you as well? as we are struggling to get back !
— Chakra (@orampach) April 27, 2021
Aussie cricketers won't get special treatment
The Indian Premier League is scheduled to finish on May 31, while the regular season ends on May 24, so any extension of the travel ban would create substantial headaches for Cricket Australia.
The prime minister made it clear Australians involved in the IPL - a list headlined by multimillion-dollar stars Pat Cummins, David Warner and Steve Smith - would not jump the queue for repatriation flights whenever they resume.
"It's done on vulnerability," Morrison told reporters.
"They travelled there privately under those arrangements, this wasn't part of an Australian tour.
"They're under their own resources and they'll be using those resources to, I'm sure, see them return to Australia."
Any Cricket Australia charter flights would require sign-off from federal and state governments.
"We will assist where possible," CA said in a joint statement with the players' union.
"We will continue to liaise closely with the Australian government."
Meanwhile, IPL boss Hemang Amin took the unusual step of writing to players and staff on Tuesday in an attempt to ease growing anxiety.
"You are totally safe within the bubble," Amin wrote.
"You are also playing for something much more important ... humanity."
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