Cricket officials are confident of ‘safe passage’ for stars in India as they work on an exit strategy
The nearly 40 Australian past and present cricketers still in India haven’t reached out for help to make an early exit from the Indian Premier League.
But they do want to know they’ll be able to get home when it finishes.
New Australian Cricketers Association boss Tony Greenberg confirmed on Wednesday that players, via a WhatsApp group set up, were seeking reassurance they would get “safe passage” back to Australia when their tournament finishes.
As well as star players including Pat Cummins and David Warner remaining in India, there are coaches including Ricky Ponting and commentators such as Brett Lee and Matthew Hayden.
A federal government announcement on Tuesday, which suspended all flights from India until May 15, heightened anxiety among the Australians working in the IPL.
But Greenberg said he was working with Cricket Australia, the government and the IPL franchises on a “consolidated plan” to get people home safely when their tournament obligations are over later in May.
“We have a great duty of care to our players. What we are trying to do is give them as much as of the real-time information as possible … trying to reduce the anxiety,” Greenberg told SEN.
“They are obviously wonderful athletes and cricketers, but they are just like you and I, they are human beings and vulnerable to other challenges … we have to support them and assist them.
“In a best-case scenario, the COVID situation stabilises and life returns to some sort of some normality, and at the end of the tournament players can book their flights home. But we also have options A, B, C and D.
“We might have to work with the owners of the franchises to get charter flights for them to come home, that is certainly a viable option.
“With the spirit of co-operation we have got … I am sure we will be able to find a consolidated plan. We have time and space to be able to do that and fill our players with confidence.”
Winning the morning over here in Chennai 🤙 #[email protected]/pcwnSJXRRd
Bowler Andrew Tye is in hotel quarantine in Sydney after leaving the IPL, while Greenberg said the ACA was working with Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson, who have left their team bubble to return home.
But Greenberg said there had been no other requests for an early exit before the regular season of the tournament finishes on May 23.
“Not specifically. They feel very safe and secure in their current environment,” he said.
“The biosecurity bubbles they are living and training in are all very good. There’s no concerns about that.
“What they are anxious about is will they be able to get home at the end of the tournament. We are trying to give them some comfort that there will be a safe passage home for them.”
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