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BCCI looking to arrange charter flights for Aus contingent from Maldives or SL, says Hockley

ANI | Updated: May 05, 2021 13:37 IST

Sydney [Australia], May 5 (ANI): With the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League postponed, Cricket Australia's interim Chief Executive Officer Nick Hockley has said that every arrangement is being made to repatriate the Australian contingent as soon as possible.

Hockley went on to add that Sri Lanka and Maldives are the two places that have been zeroed in on for the Australian contingent to move to from India before they return home since direct flights from India to Australia have been stopped with an eye on the second COVID-19 wave.

"We're working on arrangements to repatriate all the players, the support staff, umpires, commentators as quickly and as safely as possible. What we're working to do and what the BCCI are working to do, and they've been incredibly cooperative, is working to move the entire cohort out of India.

"So the BCCI has been working on a range of options. That's now narrowed down to the Maldives and Sri Lanka. The BCCI are working through the final details of that at
the moment and we expect that movement will happen in the next two to three days," he told reporters on Wednesday.

Hockley went on to praise the BCCI and the Indian board's effort to get the Australian players back to their homes.

"I would say the BCCI have been absolutely fantastic. So they're committed to not only the first movement to either the Maldives or Sri Lanka but they're also then committed to putting on a charter to bring them back to Australia," he said.

Asked if Cricket Australia regrets letting the players go for this year's IPL, Hockley said: "No, I don't think so. I mean, our hearts go out to everyone in India. Clearly, I mean, I think the IPL, you know, they put so much work, so much effort into putting on the tournament. They obviously did that on the best-available information at the time and they've come to the decision over the last 24 hours that it's in everyone's -- well, in the interests of the health and safety of everyone to suspend the tournament indefinitely.

"At the moment -- I was on the phone to my counterpart less than an hour ago and I can't speak more highly for
how the BCCI but also all of the franchises have worked to look after our players and put in plans to make sure that they get home safely and as quickly as possible."

Asked if Hockley thinks there'll be animosity if the players get to fly home in a charter, he said: "The BCCI are putting in place the best-possible arrangements. We're not seeking any kind of special exemptions whatsoever. We will -- any kind of quarantine arrangements would be over and above the cap. So our main priority is we would work with the Australian Government and the relevant state governments to make sure that we're not taking spaces of anyone else that's available.

"So, you know, certainly that's what we're committed to do. I'd also add to that, that the last 12 months around the globe, we've seen all professional athletes travel differently and charter flights maybe two years ago would have seen
a different type of commentary than what we would see today. The reality is we're going to try to keep them as safe as possible and if that's available to it, I don't think we should shy away from that." (ANI)