Australia's Covid exiles: 30 Aussie cricket stars are stranded India

Australia’s Covid exiles: THIRTY Australian cricket stars are stranded in India and face JAIL if they try to go home after Sydney made it ILLEGAL for them to go home

  • Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson touched down in Melbourne on Thursday
  • PM Scott Morrison said loophole to permit arrivals via Doha was now closed
  • Government yesterday announced bill to impose jail and fines for Indian arrivals
  • Comes as 34 Australian players, coaches, commentators remain at IPL 

Two star Australian cricketers have escaped Covid-ravaged India via a travel loophole just days before it will be made illegal for the 34 remaining players, coaches and commentators to return.

Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson touched down in Melbourne late Thursday afternoon via a commercial flight from Qatar, exposing a gap in Scott Morrison’s travel ban.

The Prime Minister said that loophole, which also included some flights from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, was now closed to prevent arrivals from the world’s Covid epicentre where 400,000 new cases were reported on Saturday.

Mr Morrison’s government yesterday went a step further as it unveiled an emergency bill that will see anyone arriving from India jailed for up to five years or fined up to £37,000.

Thirty-four Australians remain in India – 12 players, 11 coaches, four commentators, two umpires and five support staff, and a commentator from New Zealand who lives in Australia.


Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson touched down in Melbourne late Thursday afternoon via a commercial flight from Qatar, exposing a gap in Scott Morrison’s travel ban.

Funeral pyres have been burning around the clock in cities across India to cope with the dead (pictured: a crematorium in Bengaluru)

Mr Morrison promised that the sporting stars would not receive any preferential treatment under the new rules to protect Australia’s successful zero Covid strategy

Among the star players are Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and David Warner, while big names like Ricky Ponting, Simon Katich and David Hussey are working for clubs or for broadcasters.

Cummins’ contract is worth £1.8 million, while Warner is earning £1.3 million. 

In addition to the cricketers, more than 9,000 Australian citizens are believed to be in India. 

Mr Morrison promised that the sporting stars would not receive any preferential treatment under the new rules to protect Australia’s successful zero Covid strategy.

‘They have travelled there privately,’ the PM said on Tuesday. ‘This wasn’t part of an Australian tour. They’re under their own resources and they’ll be using those resources too, I’m sure, to see them return to Australia in accordance with their own arrangements.’  

The lucrative Twenty20 tournament is due to wrap up on May 30 and the players are housed in a ‘biosecure bubble,’ with no plans to cancel any fixtures.

Earlier this week, organisers came under renewed flak as a match between the Rajasthan Royals and the Mumbai Indians was played just a few hundred yards away from Delhi’s largest hospital where patients were dying for lack of oxygen.

Batsman Chris Lynn (pictured with partner Karlie Andrews) has led calls for Cricket Australia to organise a plane to get players out of India

AJ Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson made the decision to escape the lucrative league early while Test players Steve Smith, Dave Warner and Pat Cummins (pictured with fiancée Becky Boston) stayed put

Steve Smith is pictured with his wife Dani Willis. Smith was purchased for $390,000 at February’s auction to represent the Delhi Capitals

David Warner, pictured right with wife Candice, is earning £1.3 million 

England’s Jos Buttler played in the fixture along with Indian stars Rohit Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah.

Cricket Australia released their own statement earlier this week after Mr Morrison announced the new travel ban on India, saying it was in constant discussion with players and coaches in the country.

‘We will assist where possible,’ the statement read. ‘We will continue to liaise closely with the Australian government following today’s announcement that direct flights from India to Australia will be paused until 15 May, and monitor the situation between now and the tournament’s scheduled conclusion on 30 May.’ 

It comes as Western Australia’s premier, Mark McGowan, warned that quarantine facilities in the state had already been placed under huge strain by people arriving from India.

Mr McGowan said on Tuesday that there was ‘huge pressure now on all our quarantine facilities as a result of people coming from India.’ 

‘What makes it more galling is people have gone over there, over the course of the past few months,’ he added. 

Australian cricketer Adam Zampa (pictured with fiancee Harriet) touched down in Melbourne along with Kane Richardson on Thursday

David Warner and Kane Williamson are seen in full PPE as they travel on a plane during the IPL

India is in the eye of the world’s Covid storm, with funeral pyres burning around the clock in Delhi and Mumbai and hospitals under armed guard to protect oxygen supplies.

Despite emergency medical gear arriving from Britain and the United States, including a USAF cargo jet with 400 oxygen cylinders on Friday, there remains an acute shortage of oxygen, medicines and beds across India.

People are dying in the streets and on stretchers outside the overcrowded hospitals, while IPL matches are played just a few blocks away.

The tournament has continued, with players offering donations to help Covid victims and others making the case that it provides much needed relief for the fearful population.

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