Australia cricketers returned home from Maldives after IPL delay

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Australian cricketers and officials finally returned home from Maldives two weeks after the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been postponed due to the rising cases of COVID-19 within the tournament bubble and the country itself. The IPL 2021 was postponed indefinitely on May 4 but Australian cricketers were left because the government had temporarily barred incoming travelers from India.

The Australian government had shut its borders and ban travellers from India, including Australian citizens, from entering the country until May 15. It also threatened returning citizens a 5-year jail term if they entered Australia after having been in India within their last 14 days of their arrival. As many as 14 players were in the bio-bubbles during the announcement.

The 38-member Australian contingent, including the likes of Pat Cummins, David Warner, Steve Smith and Michael Slater, relocated to Maldives with the commentator Michael Slater and waited for the travel ban to be lifted before getting a BCCI arranged charter flight home. They arrived back in Sydney this week after spending 10 days at Maldives and will undergo hotel quarantine.

Chennai Super Kings batting coach Michael Hussey, tested positive on May 4 and was brought to Chennai from Delhi in an air ambulance, also headed home via Doha after testing negative for COVID-19. The cricketers “did not take one place in quarantine that anyone else have otherwise had,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

After their return, selectors of Australia’s tour of West Indies revealed their plans for the path to the Twenty20 World Cup. Included in the 23-man preliminary squad which will be cut down before departure are the likes of Steve Smith, Pat Cummins and David Warner. The group will likely have around three weeks of break before leaving for the West Indies.

“Having players of that calibre back in the squad is critical to the build-up to the T20 World Cup and refining the balance of the team over the coming months,” selector Trevor Hohns said. Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques and Alex Carey are also back in the selection, after missing the T20 tour of New Zealand.

Australia’s preliminary squad: Aaron Finch (captain), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitch Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa.

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