New Delhi (AFP)
Former Australian cricketer Michael Slater on Monday criticized his government for threatening to jail anyone violating its travel ban in India, telling the prime minister he had “blood on his hands”.
Australia warned on Saturday that people entering from India – where a raging Covid-19 pandemic has pushed the health care system to breaking point – could face five years in prison.
The threat came after travelers discovered a loophole in taking indirect flights from India. They included cricketers Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson, who left their Indian Premier League clubs before the ban.
Slater, now a well-known television expert, had commented on the IPL for broadcaster Star Sports in India before leaving the tournament as the number of cases skyrocketed.
He traveled to the Maldives, where he is waiting to know when he can return home, the Australian newspaper reported on Monday.
“If our government cared about the safety of Australians, it would allow us to return home. It’s a shame !! Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this, ”the 51-year-old tweeted.
Critics have accused Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government of abandoning the country’s citizens in times of crisis.
Morrison also rejected calls for charter flights to return thousands of citizens, including cricketers to India for the IPL.
Travel restrictions, introduced to try to prevent India’s outbreak from spreading to Australia, will remain in place until May 15 at the earliest.
On Monday, the IPL postponed a game for the first time due to the viral crisis, after two players tested positive.
Despite the spike in infections, Indian cricket authorities have not canceled the IPL, insisting the lucrative competition is helping to boost morale.
Australia closed its international borders to most non-nationals in March 2020.
Those traveling to the country must spend 14 days in a quarantine hotel.
Slater held a top position in the Australian Test batting order for nearly a decade, reaching 5,312 points before his retirement in 2004.
© 2021 AFP