Aussie cricket stars escape from India
Australia's Indian Premier League stars have been safely transported out of India, but Chennai Super Kings coach Michael Hussey remains stuck in hotel quarantine after testing positive to COVID-19.
On Tuesday evening, the glamorous T20 tournament was suspended after several players and staff tested positive to the virus.
The decision left 38 Australian players, coaches, commentators and umpires stranded in coronavirus-ravaged India, unable to return home due to the Government's strict travel restrictions - which will not be uplifted until May 15 at the earliest.
On Thursday, Cricket Australia confirmed the Aussie talent - including David Warner, Steve Smith, Pat Cummins and Ricky Ponting - were on route to the Maldives, approximately 2800 kilometres south of India.
"The Australians will remain in the Maldives until the conclusion of the travel pause pertaining to flights from India to Australia. As previously stated, CA and the ACA are not seeking an exemption from the Australian Government," the statement read.
"CA and the ACA extend their sincere thanks to the Board of Control for Cricket in India for their responsiveness in moving the Australians from India to the Maldives less than two days after the decision to indefinitely postpone the Indian Premier League."
However, Hussey would be required to undergo a 10-day quarantine in his hotel room after the former Test batter's two COVID-19 tests returned positive results.
Super Kings chief executive officer Kasi Viswanathan, bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji and a bus cleaner also tested positive this week.
"Mike Hussey remains in India having tested positive to COVID-19. Mike is experiencing mild symptoms and is in the care of his IPL franchise, the Chennai Super Kings," the CA statement read.
"CA and the ACA will work closely with the BCCI to ensure Mike's safe return to Australia when it is safe to do so."
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, ACA chief executive Todd Greenberg said some of the Aussie players and staff were anxious about the travel ban, and eager to return home as soon as possible.
"They always knew when they'd have to do isolation when they came back into the country. They didn't expect the borders to be closed, and that created some anxiety for them," Greenberg said.
"They're very hopeful that the Government will reopen after the 15th, but we're under no illusion that's the decision the Government has to make.
"The public will see our best Australian athletes as superheroes. They're brilliant athletes and great cricketers, but they're human beings. They're people.
"Some of them are husbands and fathers, and they're under enormous amounts of stress over there.
"This will be an experience that they probably will never forget."
India is recording approximately 360,000 cases and 3500 deaths a day and has been hit by chronic shortages of hospital beds and oxygen.
Originally published as Aussie cricket stars escape from India