Australian cricketers land in Sydney after fleeing Covid-hit IPL 2021

Players returned on a charter flight from Maldives

Australian cricketers landed in Sydney on a charter flight Monday, nearly two weeks after the Indian Premier League tournament they were participating in was suspended amid surging Covid-19 infections.

The IPL was postponed indefinitely on May 4 after players and staff members from various franchises tested positive for coronavirus. Tournament organisers urged overseas players to return to their homes as soon as possible.

But the Australian contingent faced a major hurdle because their government temporarily barred incoming travellers from India.

Most of the Australians relocated to the Maldives and waited for the travel ban to be lifted before getting a charter flight home.

Broadcaster ABC reported that players including Steve Smith and David Warner were on board the flight that landed in Sydney about 7.30am local time.

A group of 38 players, coaches, officials and TV commentators had reportedly been staying in the Maldives, after leaving India on May 6 aboard a charter flight arranged and paid for by the Indian cricket board.

Two days back the Australian government lifted the temporary ban on travellers from India.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Sunday the cricketers had not been given any special treatment, and would be coming back "under their own steam, on their own ticket".

They are now expected to undergo 14 days of quarantine in a Sydney hotel, as part of strict border controls that have largely contained the spread of the virus in Australia.

Adam Zampa, Andrew Tye and Kane Richardson had left their IPL teams ahead of the larger Australian contingent, and were due to have completed quarantine last week.

The IPL started in early April and went ahead despite a massive spike in cases and deaths. The decision faced criticism from some observers, while others defended it as a welcome distraction for the Indian public.

India reported more than 310,000 new infections and 4,000 deaths on Sunday.

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