The Indian Premier League (IPL) is currently suspended, and the cricket tournament has been moved outside of India. Almost forty Aussies currently active in the IPL, under various positions, are going to be relocated, according to Nick Hockley. Players, commentators, coaches, and other various officials are still currently in India. The Board of Control for Cricket in India has agreed to assist with the repatriation of the Aussies. The interruption of the IPL will have clear ramifications for
Given the fact that it wouldn’t be considered safe to travel directly to Australia, the plan is to have the Aussies flown to either Sri Lanka or the Maldives. Australia currently has a travel ban even for their citizens if they are arriving from India. More details on the Australian government’s decision regarding the ban will be discussed on the 15th of May. While the ban might be reviewed on the 15th of May, the situation looks bleak, and the chances of the ban being lifted are almost null, given that the situation in India is only degrading.
As of Monday, 3rd of May, there has been a “drastic” travel ban that will go as far as to jail Australians who attempt to fly home from India. The purpose of the ban is to keep , as per Josh Frydenberg, but it does appear to be quite harsh. The ban itself applies to any Aussie traveler that has been in India within the past 14 days from the moment they intend to enter Australia. If this ban is to be breached, there will be severe repercussions that could even result in 5-year imprisonment.
The Consequences of the Travel Ban
Australian citizens aren’t allowed to return to Australia when flying from India. This ban applies to any Australian citizen, which means that the only possibility will be to travel to Sri Lanka or the Maldives and spend 14 days over there. The BCCI has taken the responsibility of arranging the partial repatriation for the Aussie players and staff members. The next step of repatriation highly depends on the federal government’s review of the current travel ban. Once the Aussie players and coaches reach Australia, they will be forced to quarantine regardless.
Michael Hussey tested positive for COVID-19 and will have to quarantine in India. He will be spending the 10 quarantine days in an Indian hotel. After the quarantine, he will be able to relocate to either Sri Lanka or the Maldives. The Adam Zampa and Andrew Tye relocated back in April without any assistance from the BCCI. Kane Richardson also managed to make his way to Doha during the same month.
According to Mr. Todd Greenberg, the CEO of the Australian Cricketers’ Association, the players were fully aware of what situation they risked putting themselves in from the moment they decided to play in India. There is also no real debate regarding the fact that any thirty-eight individuals will be forced to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Australia.
Along with the cricket players are officials, there are also some 173 Australian children stuck in India. Most of the children aren’t living with their immediate family but rather with extended family members. Children visiting their grandparents in India have become stuck, and the current travel ban makes it impossible for them to return. Unaccompanied children aren’t allowed to fly with Qantas even on repatriation flights, and this has thrown a wrench in the plans of bringing them back home. Qantas is the only Australian carrier that is offering repatriation flights. In most cases, their extended family is unable to accompany them back home due to the fact that only Australian nationals are allowed to enter Australia. There have been reports of young children being stuck in India for over 18 months, basically since the start of the pandemic.
The COVID-19 situation in India has seen soaring infection rates and deaths. On Wednesday, the country reported over 3,700 deaths. More than 20 million Indians have been infected, but the actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to poor reporting. The situation is becoming dire day by day, and there seems to be no favorable resolution in sight.