Australia suspends incoming flights from India until May 15 — IPL cricketers, coaches and broadcasters left in a bind

Australia suspends incoming flights from India until May 15 — IPL cricketers, coaches and broadcasters left in a bind
Glenn Maxwell is among the IPL players stranded in India as Australia bans all incoming flights from India until May 15RCB
  • Australia has suspended all incoming flights from India for the next three weeks, until May 15.
  • The move is likely to impact thousands of Australians currently in India, including cricketers participating in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
  • The order will be reassessed before May 15, according to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The Australian government has decided to hit pause on all incoming flights from India for the next three weeks as the Asian giant grapples with its COVID-19 crisis. The new move will leave thousands of Australians stranded, including cricketers participating in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Not only does the list include star players like Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and David Warner — it also includes Ricky Ponting, Simon Katich, David Hussey and Lisa Sthalekar who are also in India for commentating roles.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters that this temporary ban will be reassessed before May 15. Until then, there’s a ‘clearly present’ risk of travel from India, according to him.

The order comes after the Australian authorities had already announced a 30% reduction in flights from India last week. A complete ban is likely to affect direct flights coming into Sydney as well as repatriation flights scheduled to arrive in Darwin.

Transiting flights coming in via Doha, Singapore, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur, have already been paused by those countries.

Once flights do resume, passengers will be required to submit a negative COVID nasal swab and a negative rapid antigen test before getting on a plane.


Australian cricketers in the IPL face an awkward situation

According to Fox Sports, there are at least 30 Australian cricket players, coaches and broadcasters participating in the IPL this year. According to Morrison, the return of Australian cricketers will not be prioritised.

“They have travelled there privately,” said the Prime Minister. “This wasn’t part of an Australian tour. They’re under their own resources and they’ll be using those resources too, I’m sure, to see them return to Australia in accordance with their own arrangements.”

Three Australians, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson all left the IPL on Monday to return home. But, a total of 36 Australians are still biding their time– 14 players, 11 coaches, four commentators, two umpires and five support staff, plus one New Zealand commentator who is an Australian resident.

“It’s a case by case situation where you can’t blame an Australian player if he wants to go home and get back to his family. And you also can’t blame an Australian player who wants to stay and play the rest of the IPL,” said Lee during Fox Cricket’s Road to The Ashes podcast.

The regular IPL season is scheduled to take place until May 23. The finals will be conducted a week later on May 30. For now, it’s a game of wait-and-watch until May 13.


Australia is not the only country to ban incoming flights from India

Over the weekend, the Maldives, Italy, Germany and Bangladesh have also placed restrictions of the entry of travelers from the country due to the overwhelming rise in COVID-19 cases.

“From Sunday night, only Germans from India are allowed to enter, and they must also be tested before departure and immediately after entry into a 14-day quarantine,” said German Health Minister Jens Spahn on April 24.

Prior to that the UK, UAE, Canada, the US, Oman, Honk Kong, New Zealand, Pakistan, Egypt and Singapore have also either banned incoming travelers altogether or put certain restrictions in place.

India recorded 323,000 new cases of COVID-19 infections and 2,771 deaths in the last 24 hours. The number of new cases has exceeded 300,000 for the seventh consecutive day.

The rapid uptick in new cases is attributed to new variants of the virus emerging, political rallies across five states with elections, massive public gatherings like the Kumbh Mela, and general lapse in following COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.

India will receive the first batch of Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine by May 1 — in time for the third phase of its vaccination drive

Election Commission bans all victory processions on or after counting on May 2

The pace of infections and test positivity in Maharashtra is slowing down — but it is too soon to celebrate