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How Aussie cricketers could flee India and follow Michael Slater to tropical island paradise

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A host of Australian cricketers, coaches and commentators stranded in coronavirus-ravaged India will now weigh up their options following the suspension of the Indian Premier League – with some eyeing up a paradise island loophole.

The lucrative IPL tournament featuring the some of world’s best cricket players was suspended indefinitely on Tuesday after multiple players tested positive to coronavirus in recent days.

A 34-strong Australian cricket contingent remains in India including 14 players, 11 coaches, four commentators, two umpires and five support staff, as well as a commentator from New Zealand who lives in Australia. 

David Warner, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis and coach Ricky Ponting are among 9,000 Australians unable to return home until at least May 15 due to a travel ban enforced by the federal government – and this could even be extended.

Cricket legend Michael Slater, who was working as a commentator, managed to escape to the Maldives and now must just wait the designated two weeks to return to Australia.

Pat Cummins (pictured with partner Becky) is in lockdown in India after several IPL teammates tested positive to coronavirus – but admitted players ‘knew what they signed up for’

Australian cricketers looking to flee escape India following the suspension of IPL could flee to the Maldives (pictured) like Michael Slater

Australian cricketers looking to flee escape India following the suspension of IPL could flee to the Maldives (pictured) like Michael Slater

A mass exodus of Australians currently unable to return home may now follow Slater to the tropical island paradise, which is a three-and-half hour flight away as the coronavirus crisis in India worsens.

There are around 450 new daily cases in the Maldives this week, which is in stark contrast to the 400,000 infections seen daily in India.

Upon arriving in the Maldives, travellers need only present a negative Covid-19 test from the last 96 hours. 

Then they must wait the government-mandated two weeks before flying back to Australia, where they then enter another fortnight of mandatory hotel quarantine. 

Cases have soared past 20 million in India and deaths approached 220,000 with the health system on the verge of collapse.

Cummins is currently in isolation with the rest of the Kolkata Knight Riders team after two of their teammates tested positive to Covid-19.

Commentator and cricket great Michael Slater (pictured) is currently in the Maldives after fleeing India in recent days

Commentator and cricket great Michael Slater (pictured) is currently in the Maldives after fleeing India in recent days

The Knight Riders played the Dehli Capitals on April 29 forcing former Australian captain Steve Smith, along all-round Marcus Stoinis and Australian-born Capitals coaches Ricky Ponting and James Hopes, into isolation. 

Warner and his Sunrisers Hyderabad teammates have also been plunged into a four day lockdown after one of their players, Wriddhiman Saha, returned a positive COVID-19 test on Tuesday. 

Speaking for the first time from his quarantine hotel room, Cummins said he had been surprised by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s comments that those who returned from India faced jail time, but admitted players ‘knew what they were signing up for’.

‘Once we flew out of Australia we knew we were signing up for 14 days quarantine coming home, so you always feel that little bit further away from getting home,’ he told The Back Page on Tuesday night.

‘As soon as the hard border shut, obviously no-one has experienced that before. It added a bit of anxiety for a few of the Aussies over here. 

‘But we signed up to play the tournament until the start of June. Hopefully it all reopens on May 15 and we’ll be able to get back.’

Around 9,000 Australians remain stranded in India, where the coronavirus crisis is worsening with around 400,000 new cases a day and hospitals at breaking point

Around 9,000 Australians remain stranded in India, where the coronavirus crisis is worsening with around 400,000 new cases a day and hospitals at breaking point

Speaking from his quarantine hotel room on Tuesday night, Pat Cummins (pictured) admitted he'd been surprised by the Prime Minister's comments that Aussies returning from India could face jail time

Speaking from his quarantine hotel room on Tuesday night, Pat Cummins (pictured) admitted he’d been surprised by the Prime Minister’s comments that Aussies returning from India could face jail time

With the IPL suspended indefinitely, officials are working with foreign players’ government to get them repatriated safely.

But with Australia having banned all flights from India, it is not clear what the players’ next step is. 

Meanwhile Slater has come under fire after he slammed the federal government from new current island base on Monday night.

‘If our government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home,’ Slater wrote on Twitter.

‘It’s a disgrace!! Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this? 

‘How about you sort out quarantine system? I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect.’ 

Slater doubled down on his tirade in a follow-up tweet after he was inundated with backlash.

‘For those who think this is a money exercise. Well forget it,’ he wrote.  

‘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.’

Slater has been roasted by many Australians who believe he and other Australians chose to travel to India on their own accord.

‘So Michael Slater goes into a war zone to chase money. Now when it has gotten out of control, it’s the Australian Government’s fault?’ one Twitter user wrote.

‘Michael Slater can FO attacking the PM when HE went to India to make big cash but now it doesn’t suit him,’ said another. 

‘This Michael Slater rant is really something else. He can’t honestly think he went to India knowing what could happen if it went pear shaped?’ wrote a third.

David Warner (pictured with his wife Candice) his Sunrisers Hyderabad teammates have also been plunged into a four day lockdown after one of their players, Wriddhiman Saha, returned a positive COVID-19 test on Tuesday

David Warner (pictured with his wife Candice) his Sunrisers Hyderabad teammates have also been plunged into a four day lockdown after one of their players, Wriddhiman Saha, returned a positive COVID-19 test on Tuesday

David Warner shared a heartbroken note from his daughter Ivy while he is stranded in India - but could soon make a break for the Maldives

David Warner shared a heartbroken note from his daughter Ivy while he is stranded in India – but could soon make a break for the Maldives 

Australian cricket officials were in late night crisis talks on Tuesday following the suspension of the IPL.

‘Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers’ Association understand the decision of the BCCI to indefinitely postpone the 2021 Indian Premier League for the safety and wellbeing of all participants,’ a joint statement from CA and ACA read. 

It explained that officials were working to ‘ensure the safe accommodation and repatriation of Australian players, coaches, match officials and commentators back home to Australia.’

But the statement also said that association ‘respected the decision of the Australian Government to pause travel from India until at least May 15′ and confirmed it wouldn’t be seeking exemptions for Australian stars. 

Michael Slater is already in the island paradise of the Maldives (stock image) - and other Australian players could follow suit

Michael Slater is already in the island paradise of the Maldives (stock image) – and other Australian players could follow suit

Australians stranded in India 

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS

Jason Behrendorff

Michael Hussey 

DELHI CAPITALS

Marcus Stoinis

Steve Smith

Ricky Ponting 

James Hopes 

KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS

Ben Cutting

Pat Cummins

David Hussey 

MUMBAI INDIANS

Nathan Coulter-Nile

Chris Lynn

PUNJAB KINGS

Moises Henriques

Jhye Richardson

Riley Meredith

Damien Wright 

ROYAL CHALLENGERS BANGALORE

Daniel Sams

Dan Christian

Glenn Maxwell

Simon Katich

Adam Griffith 

SUNRISERS HYDERABAD

David Warner

Tom Moody

Trevor Bayliss

Brad Haddin 

**Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson (Royal Challengers Bangalore) and Andrew Tye (Rajasthan Royals) left the IPL early and beat the Morrison-government’s travel ban.

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