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Indian crisis hits home as Australia's 'Mr Cricket' returns positive test

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Australian cricketer Michael Hussey has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 in India.

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Indian media are reporting his test result came back on Tuesday.

Hussey, who’s working as batting coach for the IPL’s Chennai Super Kings, is now undergoing a second test.

“Hussey tested positive. But his samples are being redone,” a team source told The Times of India.

“Hopefully, the report will come negative.”

Hussey, star batsman Steve Smith and other Australian cricketers are stranded in India after the Indian Premier League was suspended on Tuesday amid a widening coronavirus outbreak.

Nationals of other countries playing in the IPL began flying home on Tuesday night, a senior Indian cricket board official reportedly told Reuters overnight.

“We have been working on their travel plans in consultation with their respective boards so that each of them reach home safely,” the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official said requesting anonymity.

“Some of them will return home tomorrow.”

But about 40 Australians at the tournament cannot return to Australia until at least May 15 because of a controversial ban by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s federal government.

Cricket Australia and the players union, the Australian Cricketers’ Association, say they won’t seek exemptions from the government ban.

The competition was called off indefinitely after a fourth franchise from the lucrative Twenty20 tournament reported a positive COVID-19 test.

The captain of Smith’s Delhi Capitals – coached by Australian great Ricky Ponting – has tested positive.

Delhi skipper Amit Mishra’s positive test has forced Smith, his Australian teammate Marcus Stoinis and compatriots Ponting and bowling coach James Hopes into isolation.

Australians David Warner and Mitchell Marsh will also be isolated after the wicketkeeper at their franchise, the Sunrisers Hyderabad, tested positive.

Fellow countrymen Pat Cummins, Ben Cutting and assistant coach David Hussey, all at the Kolkata Knight Riders, had already been isolating after two players at their outfit tested positive.

Australian fast bowler Jason Behrendorff is also caught up in the outbreak with three staffers at his Chennai Super Kings testing positive, and, reportedly, Michael Hussey.

The halt to the competition came as Indian society buckles with more than 20 million COVID-19 cases and more than 220,000 deaths from the virus.

The BCCI said it would do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021.

But Australia’s cricketers and staffers will be forced to remain due to a ban on returning Australians, with India’s coronavirus count averaging almost 400,000 new cases daily.

Morrison said on Tuesday the latest figures of coronavirus-positive cases in passengers coming out of India demanded the government pause flights.

Eight crossbenchers have asked the prime minister to urgently repatriate Australians in India, starting with the most vulnerable, and set up a dedicated surge capacity quarantine facility in Australia.

Australian cricketers Adam Zampa, Andrew Tye and Kane Richardson last week fled the IPL, returning home via Qatar.

But any Australian attempting that journey now risks jail time and fines amid the travel ban, though the prime minister said such sanctions were remote.

Complicating matters is Australia’s limited-overs tour of the West Indies in June, with Smith, Cummins and other stars facing a tight turnaround if their homecoming was delayed.

 

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