As overseas IPL players are raced home on chartered flights, Australian stars head for Maldives

Canberra’s decision to ban returnees challenged in court

<p>File Mumbai Indians’ fans arrive to watch IPL match</p>

File Mumbai Indians’ fans arrive to watch IPL match

Foreign Indian Premier League players are racing home on chartered flights with eight of the 11 English cricketers already back in London while Australian stars are head to Maldives for an indirect return.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) promised a safe return passage for every foreigner involved in the eight-team league.

Australia’s 38-strong contingent left for the Maldives as they would not be allowed to enter Australia until 15 May because of the government’s ban on travellers from Covid-hit India.

Charted planes are being flown to the Maldives, New Zealand, the West Indies and South Africa for the repatriation of cricketers after the tournament was suspended indefinitely. The decision came after at least four players tested positive for Covid-19 despite the bio bubble.

Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association confirmed on Wednesday that their players were leaving for Maldives and thanked the BCCI for arranging their travel.

Mike Hussey, who is an assistant coach at Chennai Super Kings, will remain in a Delhi hotel to receive treatment and serve a 10-day isolation period after he tested positive.

“Mike is experiencing mild symptoms and is in the care of his IPL franchise, the Chennai Super Kings,” the joint statement read.

Mumbai Indians team will send their players to New Zealand or the West Indies via South Africa. They also invited other payers with the same destinations to join them.

Kiwi cricketers Trent Boult, Adam Milne, James Neesham, Shane Bond, joined by other Kiwi players from other teams will fly home on Friday.

However, Skipper Kane Williamson and three others will stay in India before leaving for England, New Zealand Cricket said in a statement. Other Kiwi players Williamson, Kyle Jamieson and Mitchell Santner, along with the team physiotherapist, will stay in India as they unable to secure exemption to travel to Britain until 11 May.

Eight British players have already returned to London and three more will join them in the next couple of days.

The length of Australian cohort in Maldives might be discussed during a meeting of Australia’s national cabinet on Friday.

Under the Austrian government’s decision the returnees could be prosecuted to AUS$66,000 (£37,000) and five years’ jail, or both under the Biosecurity Act which is in place in the country from the past 14 months.

On Thursday, a 73-year-old Australian challenged the ban in the federal court in Sydney. Gary Newman from Melbourne, who is stranded in Bengaluru city of India since March last year, challenged an emergency declaration made by the health minister, Greg Hunt, on 30 April.

The Biosecurity Act has been imposed in the country over the past 14 months. The case will be heard by by Justice Thomas Thawley on Monday.

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