Australian cricketers land at Sydney Airport after COVID-19 suspends Indian Premier League

The West Australian
VideoAustralian cricketers have returned home after fleeing COVID-ravaged India

Australian cricketers left stranded overseas by the Federal Government’s India flight ban have finally touched down in Sydney.

The group of 38 players and officials — including Test stars Steve Smith, Pat Cummins and David Warner — landed at Sydney Airport at 5am WA time.

A catastrophic coronavirus outbreak forced the suspension of the lucrative Indian Premier League but Australia’s ban on arrivals from India meant the the cricketers spent the last two weeks in the Maldives

They will now go in to hotel quarantine for another 14 days.

Former Test batsman Mike Hussey, who remained in India to self-isolate after contracting the coronavirus, is expected to arrive later on Monday via a commercial flight from Qatar.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the cricketers were not given any special treatment.

,Steve Smith, David Warner and Pat Cummins have arrived back in Australia after fleeing India’s COVID-19 outbreak.
Camera Icon,Steve Smith, David Warner and Pat Cummins have arrived back in Australia after fleeing India’s COVID-19 outbreak. Credit: Mark Brake/Getty Images

“But they'll come back under their own steam, on their own ticket, and they won't be taking the spot in quarantine of any other Australian who's returning home under the NSW cap,” he told reporters on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Mr Morrison has defended the testing regime in India which prevented around 70 people flying to Australia on the first flight following the lifting of the travel ban from the subcontinent.

About 80 returnees are now in quarantine in the Howard Springs facility in the Northern Territory after they landed from India on Saturday.

The plane was only half full because more than 40 people who tested positive pre-flight along with about 30 of their close contacts were barred from returning.

The plane carrying Australian cricketers lands.
Camera IconThe plane carrying Australian cricketers lands. Credit: 7NEWS

However there are reports of some inconsistency in the testing results, adding to the frustration of Australians wanting to return home.

The Prime Minister conceded India is a very difficult environment to operate in right now.

“We will work closely with Qantas who are obviously conducting that testing regime as part of their process and they will get every support from us,” Mr Morrison said.

“I hope and intend for us to get even more home in the other repatriation commercially facilitated flights in the weeks ahead.”

-With AAP

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