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Covid-19 at IPL 2021 – Michael Hussey, and rest of Australia contingent in Maldives, set to fly home

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While Hussey flies commercial via Doha, the group waiting in the Maldives will take a BCCI charter flight

Michael Hussey will be home from India on Monday, about the same time as the 38 Australian players, coaches and media land on their return from the Maldives.

Following a series of Covid-19 positive tests, Hussey was unable to join the Maldives group after the postponement of the IPL but returned a negative test on Thursday night India time. He has now been cleared to return to Australian soil on a commercial flight via Doha.

The larger Maldives contingent, including the likes of Pat Cummins, David Warner, Steven Smith and Michael Slater, will travel home to hotel quarantine in Sydney, on a BCCI charter flight that will also stopover in Perth once it reaches Australian airspace.

The return of the cricketers, coaches and media have been secured over the incoming arrival caps put in place for overseas travellers to Australia, following negotiations between Cricket Australia, the Australian Cricketers Association, and state and federal governments.

“The public will see our best Australian cricketers as almost superheroes. They’re brilliant athletes, great cricketers but they’re human beings [too],” Todd Greenberg, the ACA chief executive had said on May 5. “Some of them are fathers and husbands, and they’re under enormous amounts of stress. Some deal with it differently. This will probably be an experience they will never forget. We will help them when they come home. Some will cope with it really well, others will need support and counselling and that’s what we’ll do.

“The last 12 months around the globe, we’ve seen all professional athletes travel differently and charter flights maybe two years ago would have seen a different type of commentary than what we would see today. The reality is we’re going to try to keep them as safe as possible and if that’s available, I don’t think we should shy away from that.

“I’m not sure it will create reticence but it will ensure players do their due diligence before they sign [future] agreements,” he added, with the ACA having already advised its players to complete due diligence before signing up for T20 leagues during the pandemic.

“The world is literally changing before our eyes, particularly with Covid and on that side of the world, obviously those cases are going up exponentially. We’re enjoying our freedoms here in Australia. It is a very different place over there. If anything it sends a message to players about making sure you do your homework before making any decisions.”

A federal government pause on the return of Australians from India concluded on Saturday, with a series of repatriation flights for the first portion of some 9000 citizens beginning over the weekend.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig



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Match Preview – West Indies vs South Africa, South Africa tour of West Indies 2021, 2nd Test

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The World Test Championship final, which starts on the same day as this match, may be the most important fixture in the Test format but for West Indies and South Africa, it’s just about the last thing on their minds. At least, if you believe Dean Elgar.

Though acknowledging that “it’s going to be exciting”, Elgar admitted he has “not got a lot of interest in that fixture” because he is more concerned with South Africa attempting to win their first series on the road in more than four years.

Once the best travellers in the world game, South Africa spent nine years between 2006 and 2015 unbeaten in series away from home, but that has changed. Now, they have lost four away series in succession – in England, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan – and this is their opportunity to turn that around.



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Eng vs Ind – women’s Test – ‘I’ll remember this day for a long time’

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England batter reflects on “crazy day” as hosts hit back after Shafali Verma fireworks

Two debutants, two excellent Test innings, but Sophia Dunkley said her unbeaten half-century was more about putting England in a good position on the second day of their match against India.
Dunkley, the first black woman to play Test cricket for England, was not out 74 when captain Heather Knight declared her side’s first innings on 396 for 9. But her composed knock was somewhat overtaken by that of Shafali Verma, the 17-year-old India opener whose 96 in a 167-run stand with Smriti Mandhana threatened to overhaul the hosts’ impressive total.



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Recent Match Report – Northants vs Derbyshire North Group 2021

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Two-time champions slip to 81 for 7 and lose heavily despite lower-order’s recovery

Derbyshire 143 for 5 (du Plooy 48*, Critchley 44) beat Northamptonshire 141 for 8 by five wickets

Northamptonshire Steelbacks slipped to a fourth straight defeat as Derbyshire Falcons ended a two-game losing streak with a five-wicket victory in the North Group match at Derby.

A disciplined Derbyshire performance with the ball restricted Northamptonshire to 141 for 8 and the Falcons, led by an unbeaten 48 from Leus du Plooy and 44 from Matt Critchley, eased home on 143 for 5 with 10 balls to spare.

Ricardo Vasconcelos scored 38 and Graeme White made 37 from 24 balls but Northamptonshire were restricted by George Scrimshaw, 1 for 13 from four overs and Conor McKerr, 2 for 23.



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