Batsman Chris Lynn has requested a charter flight home for Australian players after the Indian Premier League, News Corp reported on Tuesday, as a surge in Covid cases prompted Canberra to suspend passenger flights from India.
India has been ravaged by a record-breaking wave of Covid infections in recent weeks, with an exponential growth in cases and deaths overwhelming hospitals.
Three Australian cricketers have already left the IPL, the world’s richest Twenty20 tournament, which is taking place in biosecure conditions behind closed doors in six cities until the end of May.
Lynn said he asked Cricket Australia for a charter flight when the governing body contacted players about their health and travel plans.
Chris Lynn has asked Cricket Australia to arrange a chartered flight for the Australian players after the conclusion of IPL 2021.
— Mufaddal Vohra (@mufaddal_vohra) April 27, 2021
“I texted back that as Cricket Australia makes 10 percent of every IPL contract was there a chance we could spend that money this year on a charter flight once the tournament is over?” Lynn, who plays for Mumbai Indians, told News Corp.
However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned there would be no special treatment for cricketers. Lynn was speaking before Australia suspended flights from India until at least May 15 on Tuesday.
“They (cricketers) have travelled there privately under those arrangements, this wasn’t part of an Australian tour,” Morrison said.
“They are under their own resources and they’ll be using those resources, I’m sure, to seek to return to Australia in accordance with our own arrangements.”
Highlighting the conditions in India, Australia’s David Warner posted a picture on Instagram of himself and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson in blue protective suits and masks on a flight to Delhi.
“I know there are people worse off than us… We are not asking for short cuts and we signed up knowing the risks,” Lynn said. “But it would be great to get home as soon as the event is over.”
Australia’s Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson are returning home for “personal reasons”, the Royal Challengers Bangalore said on Monday, joining Rajasthan Royals bowler Andrew Tye who flew back on Sunday.
India star Ravichandran Ashwin also withdrew to support his family as the country staggers under 350,000 new infections and almost 3,000 deaths each day.
England batsman Liam Livingstone left the Royals last week, just before Britain imposed a travel clampdown on India. A handful of players tested positive before the tournament began.
The IPL has come in for media criticism, with a leading Indian newspaper group calling it “commercialism gone crass” and “incongruous” as it suspended coverage on Sunday.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk