/ 06 May 2021

Aussie cricketers’ plan to get out

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) now suspended, more than 30 Aussie cricketers, coaches, umpires and commentators stranded in India after the Morrison Government last week closed the border could soon have a way out. Interim Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley yesterday said that he’s working with Indian cricket’s governing body to evacuate the group to the Maldives or Sri Lanka where they will wait it out until 15 May – the date the government says the temporary travel ban could be lifted. From there, they would be flown home on a charter flight. One man who will not be with them is former top player Michael Hussey after he tested positive for COVID – the batting coach will remain in isolation in his hotel room and will receive support from the IPL. 

SO WHY THE SPECIAL TREATMENT?

Well, it’s a private arrangement to get out of India to a third country – they just can’t come home to Oz. And they aren’t receiving any special assistance from our government to do that. For Morrison’s part, on Tuesday he asked the contingent to “be patient like everyone else.” That didn’t stop the pressure from continuing to build, including the sledge from player-turned-commentator Michael Slater who tweeted that PM Scott Morrison had “blood on [his] hands” over the border ban (and he’s had another go overnight…). But it’s not just cricket circles who are bowling bouncers… Everyone from private citizens to the United Nations have taken aim at the measure which, for the first time, levels criminal sanctions against citizens for entering Oz. Australia’s High Commissioner to India Barry O’Farrell (yes, the former NSW premier…) yesterday said there are now 9,000 Aussies there who want to come home, and 900 of them are considered to be vulnerable. 

AND GIVE ME THE INDIA/COVID UPDATE… 

Coronavirus deaths rose by a record 3,780 in the 24 hours to yesterday morning and daily infections rose by 382,315, official data showed. PM Narendra Modi continues to cop flack for his handling of the crisis despite senior figures saying they’re doing all they can to ramp up hospital capacity and boost supplies of oxygen and drugs. International aid is arriving, including Australia’s contribution.

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