Australian cricketers in India could join the exiled Michael Slater in the Maldives while locked out of home by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s travel ban.
About 40 Aussies are stranded after the Indian Premier League was suspended indefinitely amid the country’s widening COVID-19 outbreak.
With no time frame on its resumption, Indian cricket officials say they will attempt to secure safe passages home for all participants.
But travel from India to Australia is blocked until May 15 and players, coaches and commentators will not seek exemptions to arrive on a chartered flight.
Instead, quarantine in a third country reportedly looms as one of a series of options to get the group out of coronavirus-stricken India and ready to fly home without issue.
The likes of Steve Smith, Pat Cummins, David Warner, Jason Behrendorff and Ben Cutting are currently isolating after positive tests among their various teams.
Retired cricketer Mike Hussey, batting coach for the Chennai Super Kings, has reportedly tested positive.
“It’s been an interesting 24 to 48 hours but for me personally and, I suppose I can speak for the rest of my teammates, we still feel pretty safe,” Cutting told Channel 7’s Sunrise.
“Disappointing that we’ve lost to of our teammates to COVID but we’re so far so good.”
Cutting says he is feeling “fairly relaxed” in his hotel room while waiting to be told when he will leave India – and where he will go.
Multiple reports say Cricket Australia could reroute the cricketers to the Maldives or Dubai in the coming days.
Slater, the former Australian batsman turned commentator, rushed to the Maldives last weekend and promptly hit out at Morrison.
“If our Government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home. It’s a disgrace!! Blood on your hands PM,” he wrote.
“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.”
Asked where he stood on the issue, Cutting sat on the fence and said he saw both sides of the argument in part because “it’s not a permanent fix, it’s sort of a temporary thing”.
Cutting describes himself as a freelance cricketer who cops the risks that come with travelling during COVID, having already lived through a similar situation in the Pakistan Super League recently.
That tournament lasted about 10 days before it was postponed, sending the Queenslander to Dubai for a pre-season before the IPL.
But Cutting says he will not be worried while he remains in India despite the country’s coronavirus situation and the complications surrounding his path home.
“(My family is) probably more stressed than I am because they probably don’t see what we’re going through back here,” he said from his hotel room.
“I phone home each day to mum and dad, my brothers and sisters, and obviously my wife Erin to let them know I’m fairly relaxed.
“We’re being very well looked after here and we’ll continue to be for whatever happens.”
Cutting’s wife Erin Holland spoke out on the “pretty scary” predicament on Tuesday after one of her husband’s gym partners was among those who tested positive.
“He’s a little bit nervous, waiting,” the Channel 7 presenter told 2Day.
“There’s a lot of panic among the guys, which you can completely appreciate, but on the same note they did elect to go over there, they did know the risk.”