Emotions erupted this morning as Australian cricketers were released from quarantine at a Sydney hotel after escaping the growing threat of COVID in India.
Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and David Warner along with 38 players, coaches, officials and commentators have been released from mandatory 14 -day quarantine at the Marriot Hotel in Sydney.
Australian players competed in the Indian Premier League (IPL) but fled the country as a deadly third wave held and the Twenty20 competition was suspended indefinitely in May.
Many of the players have not seen their family since going to the IPL in early April.
Cummins and his pregnant partner Becky Boston are emotional about their reunion.
Fast bowler Jason Behrendorff said it was “nice to have fresh air” after leaving the hotel quarantine.
Behrendorff said it was “hard” to be stuck in India and he was “comforted” to be back.
“It’s nice to know we can go home for sure,” Behrendorff said.
“It’s always been hard to get stuck anywhere, and knowing we can get home is a relief, and now that we’re out of quarantine, I can’t wait to get home and see my family.”
Players have been forced to charter planes to Sri Lanka and the Maldives after the Australian government imposed a temporary travel ban on Australians returning home.
India’s governing cricket body, the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI), pays for flights and accommodation.
The travel ban ended on May 15, however a war of words has yet to begin between former commentator returning Australian cricketer Michael Slater and Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
Slater accused Mr Morrison of having “blood on these hands” for not allowing Australians to return.
“How dare you treat us like this,” he tweeted. “I have government permission to work on the IPL but I am now in government neglect.”
Mr. Morrison also called Slater’s comments “nonsense”.
He said the ban was a “temporary pause” due to the rapid rise in infection rates in India.
Australian cricketers Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson and Andrew Tye paid their own way home last month.
Earlier this month Australian Cricketer ’Association chief executive Todd Greenberg said all IPL players were“ signing up with their eyes open ”about the risks of competing during a pandemic.
However, Mr Greenberg said the unexpected border closure “created some concern for them”.