After Travel Ban, Aus PM Says IPL Players’ Return Not Priority

The group stage of the IPL is due to finish on 23 May with the final scheduled for 30 May.

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IPL
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Glenn Maxwell’s half century helped RCB post 149/8 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
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The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that the Aussie cricketers’ return from the IPL will not be prioritised as the country announced a temporary ban on all direct flights from India until 15 May.

This puts the players, coaches and commentators in the same position as the other stranded Australians in India who are seeking a way home.

"This wasn't part of an Australian tour," the PM was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

"They're under their own resources. And they'll be using those resources to, I'm sure, to see them return to Australia in accordance with their own arrangements."

While the PM said that the cricketers would not be prioritised when government-organised repatriation flights begin, Mumbai Indians’ Chris Lynn has asked Cricket Australia to charter a flight to bring the players and staff home. Already, Australians Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson have exited the IPL as have Liam Livingstone and R Ashwin.

"I texted back that as Cricket Australia make 10% 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 media. Lynn had spoken before the ban on direct flights had been announced.

The group stage of the IPL is due to finish on 23 May with the final scheduled for 30 May.

Lynn said that he was hopeful that once the IPL was done, the Australian contingent which also includes David Warner, Steven Smith, Marcus Stoinis, Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith would be allowed to return on a chartered flight.

"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," he said.

Earlier on Monday, KKR pacer Pat Cummins donated 50,000 dollars to the PM Cares Fund to aid the fight against the coronavirus’ second wave that has hit India.

A total of 36 Australians remain in India – 14 players, 11 coaches, four commentators, two umpires and five support staff, plus one New Zealand commentator who is an Australian resident.

Among the playing group are star players Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and David Warner, while the likes of Ricky Ponting, Simon Katich, David Hussey and Lisa Sthalekar are also in India working for clubs or in commentating roles.

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