Australian IPL cricketers anxious, hope India COVID-19 travel ban will be lifted: Cummins

Australian IPL cricketers anxious, hope India COVID-19 travel ban will be lifted: Cummins

Third One Day International - England v Australia
Australia's Pat Cummins during a one day international against England at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester on Sep 16, 2020. (File photo: Reuters/Jason Cairnduff, Pool)

MELBOURNE: The ban on travellers from India by Australia had added "anxiety" for its cricketers after the Indian Premier League's (IPL) suspension, Australia vice captain Pat Cummins said, as players isolated in the coronavirus-ravaged nation on Wednesday (May 5).

The Australian government has barred its own citizens from returning home within 14 days of being in India on pain of fines and jail, leaving dozens of its IPL players, coaches and officials stranded.

Australia fast bowler Cummins is isolating in an Ahmedabad hotel after two of his Kolkata Knight Riders team mates contracted COVID-19 before organisers pulled the plug on the tournament on Tuesday.

Cummins said that Australia's travel ban, which will be reviewed on May 15, had come as a "little bit" of a shock.

"Obviously no one has experienced that before," he told Australian broadcaster Fox Sports.

"It added a bit of anxiety for a few of the Aussies over here. But we signed up to play the tournament until the start of June.

"Hopefully it all reopens on May 15 and we’ll be able to get back."

With 3.45 million active cases, India recorded 357,229 new infections on Tuesday, while deaths rose by 3,449 to 222,408.

Cummins' comments came as the Delhi Capitals said their legspinner Amit Mishra had tested positive for COVID-19 and been moved to a designated medical facility.

Three IPL teams have now confirmed COVID-19 cases, with a fourth team, Sunrisers Hyderabad, reported to have a positive test returned by wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha.

Indian media reported that the Chennai Super Kings' Australian batting coach Mike Hussey had contracted COVID-19.

Hussey would be the third case on the team, which has gone into isolation after announcing on Tuesday that their bowling coach and a "member of the travel support" had tested positive.

READ: IPL suspended amid India's COVID-19 crisis

READ: India COVID-19 infections top 20 million, top cricket league suspended


Australia is currently allowing only limited flights and arrivals into the country, and roughly a quarter of the 35,000 Australians stranded overseas are in India.

Australia's decision to penalise its own citizens for seeking to return home from India has triggered a backlash from lawmakers, legal experts and human rights advocates.

Australian deputy prime minister Michael McCormack said the government would "potentially" lift the travel ban on May 15.

"We said all along we will review the pause in travel arrangements and that's what we're doing, so be patient," McCormack told a morning TV talk show on the Nine Network.

English and Bangladeshi cricketers in the IPL also face challenges exiting India due to travel restrictions imposed by home authorities.

IPL organisers and the Indian cricket board (BCCI) have said they will help players, staff and officials get home safely.

Former Australia wicketkeeper and cricket pundit Adam Gilchrist queried whether the tournament should have gone ahead in India.

"Interesting comment about the BCCI saying .... they're thinking of the safety of all the players," he said in a video on Sky News.

"I probably feel that they're a little bit late in considering that. I'm not sure that the tournament should have started in India."

New Zealand, which has 10 players in the IPL, said their cricketers were "in a relatively safe environment" and those within affected teams were in isolation.

The country's cricket board said it was liaising with authorities to work out an exit plan.

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Source: Reuters/kg