Australia’s vice-captain Pat Cummins and other members of Kolkata’s cricket squad are isolating after two teammates contracted COVID-19, forcing Indian Premier League organisers to postpone a match.
- Pat Cummins has tested negative and is not experiencing any COVID symptoms currently
- There is no suggestion the IPL tournament will be suspended despite the postponement of a game due to these positive tests
- Australian cricketers in India are waiting to find out if and how they will be able to return home after new federal government restrictions
Kolkata Knight Riders were slated to face Royal Challenges Bangalore in Ahmedabad on Monday night, but that game will not take place as scheduled.
Kolkata’s Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier have tested positive for COVID, but their teammates — including Cummins — have returned negative tests so far.
Cummins and compatriot Ben Cutting are playing for the franchise, while Australian coach David Hussey is part of their support staff.
It is understood that Cummins, whose IPL contract is worth approximately $3.1 million, is currently healthy and not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
But the superstar paceman now faces daily tests and a nervous wait as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) seeks to control the outbreak.
The bubble breach will set off fresh alarms for BCCI bigwigs plus officials at Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA).
This IPL season, scheduled to run until May 31, is being played in front of empty stands and amid a backdrop of India’s deadly second wave of COVID-19.
There is no suggestion the Twenty20 tournament will be suspended, as was the case with the Pakistan Super League earlier this year after several players contracted COVID-19.
But if the situation deteriorates and that does transpire, then Cummins and others in a group of almost 40 Australian players, coaches and officials will be stuck in no man’s land.
The Australian government is yet to indicate whether a recently introduced ban on all incoming travellers from India could be extended, but it will run until at least May 15.
Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson last week fled the IPL and returned home, via Qatar, but any Australian attempting that journey now risks jail time and fines.
Some optimistic Australian players remain hopeful that commercial flights will be allowed to resume by the end of the month, while others are bracing for contingency plans that involve a two-week stopover in another nation.
Cummins, who last week donated $50,000 to help India combat its health crisis, is playing a central role in logistical discussions between stressed Australian cricketers, CA and the ACA.
A potential charter flight, which would need to be approved by the federal government, has formed part of those talks.
However, CA chief executive Nick Hockley insisted on Monday “there’s no suggestion at the moment of any charter flight”.
“For the moment it’s monitor the situation and as we get closer to the end of the tournament, we’ll need to see where the situation is at,” Hockley told SEN.
Complicating matters is Australia’s limited-overs tour of the West Indies in June, with Cummins and other stars facing a tight turnaround if their homecoming is delayed.