Former cricketer Michael Slater, who is currently part of the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) commentary panel, has slammed his country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison for not allowing its citizens to return from COVID-19 hit India, calling the travel ban a “disgrace”.
Australia has shut its borders and is not allowing any commercial flights from India because of the massive COVID-19 surge which has left players, support staff and commentators, who might have wanted to leave the IPL in a fix.
Meanwhile, the Indian government has made it clear that Australians who are engaged in the IPL will have to make their own arrangements.
“If our government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home. It’s a disgrace,” wrote Slater on social media. “Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this. How about you sort out [a] quarantine system.”
“I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect,” he added.
The former cricketer further said: “And for those who think this is a money exercise. Well, forget it. This is what I do for a living and I have not made a penny having left early.”
“So please stop the abuse and think of the thousands dying in India each day. It’s called empathy. If only our government had some,” he remarked.
Threatening a five-year jail term or a hefty fine, the Australian government temporarily barred its citizens from entering the country if they happened to be in India within 14 days of their intended arrival.
The decision was announced after a meeting of the National Cabinet last Friday and came into force from Monday.
The move aims at keeping the COVID-19 spread in check in Australia as India is facing a surge in cases.
The decision was also based on the proportion of overseas travellers in quarantine in Australia, who have contracted the infection in India, according to Health Minister Greg Hunt.
Three Australian players left the IPL before the travel ban came into force. The ban is due to end on May 15.
Meanwhile, as many as 14 Australian players are playing in IPL.
The competition has also been heavily hit by the virus. Earlier, Monday’s match between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) was suspended after KKR’s Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive for coronavirus. Three members of the Chennai Super Kings’ IPL contingent – chief executive officer K Viswanathan, bowling coach L Balaji and a bus cleaner – have also tested positive for the virus.
Furthermore, five Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) ground staff have tested positive. DDCA will be hosting IPL 2021 matches until May 8.