IPL 2021: Australia travel ban has added to players' 'anxiety', says Pat Cummins

Organisers pulled plug on Indian Premier League on Tuesday amid huge surge in Covid-19 cases

The travel ban imposed by the Australian government on its own citizens stranded in Covid-ravaged India has added "anxiety" for its cricketers after the Indian Premier League's suspension, Australia vice captain Pat Cummins said.

Australia has barred its own citizens from returning home within 14 days of being in India on pain of heavy fines and jail, leaving dozens of its IPL players, coaches and officials to isolate in the Asian nation.

Fast bowler Cummins is isolating in an Ahmedabad hotel after two of his Kolkata Knight Riders teammates contracted Covid-19, forcing the cancelation of Monday's match against Royal Challengers Bangalore before organisers pulled the plug on the tournament on Tuesday.

Australia is currently allowing only limited flights and arrivals into the country, and roughly a quarter of the 35,000 Australians stranded overseas are in India.

Former Australia Test batsman Michael Slater slammed Australia's travel ban, accusing Prime Minister Scott Morrison of having "blood on your hands".

While Cummins was more measured in his response, he admitted the decision, which will be reviewed on May 15, had come as a "little bit" of a shock.

"Obviously no-one has experienced that before," he told Australian broadcaster Fox Sports.

"It added a bit of anxiety for a few of the Aussies over here. But we signed up to play the tournament until the start of June.

"Hopefully it all re-opens on May 15 and we’ll be able to get back."

With 3.45 million active cases, India recorded 357,229 new infections on Tuesday, while deaths rose by 3,449 to 222,408.

Cummins, one of the most expensive foreign imports into the league, last week announced he was donating $50,000 to buy oxygen equipment after the country faced a surge in coronavirus cases.

His latest comments came as the Delhi Capitals said their legspinner Amit Mishra had tested positive for Covid-19 and been moved to a designated medical facility.

Three IPL teams have now confirmed coronavirus cases, with a fourth team, Sunrisers Hyderabad, reported to have a positive test returned by wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha.

Indian media reported that the Chennai Super Kings' Australian batting coach Mike Hussey had also contracted Covid-19.

Hussey would be the third case on the team, which has gone into isolation after announcing on Tuesday that their bowling coach and a "member of the travel support" had tested positive.

English and Bangladeshi cricketers in the IPL also face challenges exiting India due to travel restrictions imposed by home authorities.

IPL organisers and the Indian cricket board (BCCI) have said they will help players, staff and officials get home safely.

New Zealand, which has 10 players in the IPL, said their cricketers were "in a relatively safe environment" and those within affected teams were in isolation.

The country's cricket board said it was liaising with authorities to work out an exit plan.

Published: May 5, 2021 09:00 AM

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