CA monitoring stars in India after fresh travel restrictions

Australia's Pat Cummins prepares to bowl during the 2019 Cricket World Cup group stage match between Australia and Pakistan at The County Ground in Taunton, southwest England, on June 12, 2019. (Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE

SYDNEY: Cricket Australia is monitoring the coronavirus situation in India after Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced fresh travel restrictions to and from the country amid sky-rocketing coronavirus numbers.

As several of Australia’s top male cricketers including Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and David Warner continue to play through the Indian Premier League currently being held at spectator-free grounds in India, the nation notched a sobering milestone on Thursday, with the 314,000 fresh Covid-19 infections recorded in India breaking the single-day world record.

Following a national cabinet meeting on Thursday, Morrison announced that incoming traveller numbers from India would be reduced by 30 per cent, and that the government would be scaling back the approved exceptions list for travel to high-risk countries.

The Australian squad is scheduled to depart for a white-ball tour of the West Indies on June 25, which should leave enough time for players to return to Australia and go through a fortnight’s quarantine before heading to the Caribbean. However given the impending reduction of flights, sources indicated there could be a push for CA to charter a flight to ensure the players get home swiftly at the end of the tournament.

Sixteen top Aussies and several coaches are currently in India playing in the lucrative IPL, which runs through until the end of May. Players have been staying in bio-secure bubbles although all-rounder Daniel Sams tested positive to Covid-19 earlier this month.

Players must receive no-objection certificates from CA to play in the IPL, and are technically playing the event in their leave period, as opposed to when they are representing Australia.

But CA continues to keep in contact with players and is mindful of their wellbeing.

In the longer term, there is also the issue of the Twenty20 World Cup, scheduled to begin in India in October. CA said on Thursday it would continue to monitor the situation.

Along with blue-chip stars Cummins, Warner and Smith, white-ball guns Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Adam Zampa and Riley Meredith — all of whom are in the national selection frame — are currently playing in the IPL. —Courtesy Sydney Morning Herald