Big names return for West Indies tour; Australian IPL players land in Sydney - GulfToday

Big names return for West Indies tour; Australian IPL players land in Sydney

Marcus Stoinis

Australian cricketer Marcus Stoinis arrives for hotel quarantine after the IPL was suspended due to COVID-19. Reuters

Australia welcomed back their star players and picked four spinners in an extended 23-man squad named on Monday for a white-ball tour of the West Indies in July.

The team will be captained by Aaron Finch and will feature the return of Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, David Warner and Pat Cummins, who all missed the recent trip to New Zealand.

The whirlwind tour starts with the first of five Twenty20 internationals in St Lucia on July 9 and ends with the third of three one-day international in Barbados on July 24 as the teams prepare for the T20 World Cup in India later this year.

Marnus Labuschagne however misses out, due to “logistical complexities” of joining the squad from the UK, which would necessitate him to undergo two weeks of quarantine.

“Had we not been in the middle of a global pandemic Marnus would be on this tour as a well-established member and important part of the one-day side,” said selector Trevor Hohns.

“It’s an unfortunate circumstance of the many challenges the world is facing right now.”

Mitch Swepson is one of three leg-spinners with 19-year-old Tanveer Sanga and Adam Zampa. Left-arm spinner Ashton Agar was also selected in a squad which is expected to be trimmed to 18 players before departure.

“Swepson has been in exceptional form across all three forms of the game,” said Hohns.

“Tanveer Sanga was extremely impressive for the (Sydney) Thunder and we regard him very highly. While he didn’t play in New Zealand it was a great opportunity for a young bowler to be around the group.”

Cricket Australia said discussions were taking place about the possibility of adding a tour to Bangladesh after the visit to the West Indies.

Meanwhile, Australian cricketers arrived back in Sydney on a charter flight on Monday, more than a week after fleeing Covid-stricken India for the Maldives, local media reported.

Cricket authorities had been rushing to evacuate players and support staff after the lucrative Indian Premier League was suspended earlier this month as coronavirus cases surged in the country.

National broadcaster ABC reported that players including Steve Smith and David Warner were on board an Air Seychelles plane that touched down in Sydney about 7:30 am local time.

A group of 38 players, coaches, officials and TV commentators had reportedly been staying in the Maldives, after leaving India on May 6 aboard a charter flight arranged and paid for by the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Two days ago the Australian government lifted a temporary ban that threatened citizens attempting to return from India with jail, paving the way for the group to return.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Sunday the cricketers had not been given any special treatment, and would be coming back “under their own steam, on their own ticket”.

They are now expected to undergo 14 days of quarantine in a Sydney hotel, as part of strict border controls that have largely contained the spread of the virus in Australia.

Adam Zampa, Andrew Tye and Kane Richardson had left their IPL teams ahead of the larger Australian contingent, and were due to have completed quarantine last week.

The IPL started in early April wit the decision to go ahead in the face of a deepening health crisis prompting criticism from some observers, while others defended it as a welcome distraction for the embattled Indian public.

India reported more than 310,000 new infections and 4,000 deaths on Sunday, with the official number of Covid fatalities in the nation of 1.3 billion people now exceeding 250,000.


Australia squad: Aaron Finch (captain), Ashton Agar, Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Riley Meredith, Josh Philippe, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, D’Arcy Short, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, Andrew Tye, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

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