Amid hugs, tears of joy and relief, Australia’s 38-member IPL contingent comprising players, support staff and commentators on Monday reunited with their family members after serving a 14-day hotel quarantine.
They had landed in the country two weeks ago after a stopover in Maldives due to travel ban from COVID-ravaged India.
The highlight of the day was premier fast bowler Pat Cummins exiting the hotel and reuniting with his pregnant partner Becky Boston, a video of which was uploaded on Twitter by sports journalist Chloe-Amanda Bailey.
“Video of the day! After eight weeks away for the IPL, Pat Cummins finally leaves hotel quarantine and reunites with his pregnant partner Becky. All the feels!” Bailey tweeted.
Besides Cummins, batting maestro Steve Smith, big-hitting all-rounder Glenn Maxwell and swashbuckling opener David Warner were among those who finally embraced their loved ones after nearly eight weeks away from home.
Most of them had not seen their families since heading into the Indian Premier League in early April. They were flown home via a charter flight after the IPL was postponed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lucrative league will now resume in the UAE in mid-September.
Cricket Australia’s newly-appointed chief executive officer Nick Hockley said the feeling among the players about going home to be with their families could not be understated.
“We’ve been texting, and I’ve spoken to a couple of the broader group, not just the players but there’s commentators, match officials and physios,” Hockley said.
“They are clearly quite shaken from the experience, very appreciative to be home back here in Australia.”
The BCCI paid for the charter flights and accommodation of the Australians in the Maldives and Sydney, and Hockley thanked the Indian board for the manner in which it helped them.
“I would reiterate that the BCCI have been absolutely fantastic in supporting the playing group, and the entire group in terms of getting home safely and we’re very grateful for that,” Hockley said.
“It’s a couple of weeks before the West Indies touring party regroups at the National Cricket Centre and I think that’s a time to re-focus.
“But I know for now they’re looking forward to spending some time over the next couple of weeks with family and friends.”
Fast bowler Moises Henriques was photographed leaving the Marriott hotel in Sydney. Pacer Jason Behrendorff, who plays for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL, was also among those who exited quarantine.
“It was nice to know that we were getting home,” Behrendorff said.
“It’s always tough being stuck somewhere. I can’t wait to see my family,” he added.
Maxwell was seen hugging Australian teammate Marcus Stoinis after the end of their two-week quarantine.
Many of the Australian players will not be at home for long as they have been included in a 23-man squad to tour the West Indies and Bangladesh in July and August.
Five T20Is in Bangladesh were added to Australia’s upcoming touring plans as part of a jam-packed schedule that will now include 13 games in under a month.
The Australians will play the five games in Bangladesh immediately after their white-ball tour of the Caribbean and could complete them in under 10 days.