The federal government has suspended all passenger flights from India to Australia until May 15, tarnishing the return of Australia’s top cricketers.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Tuesday that direct trade and return flights from India have been suspended due to growing COVID-19 cases in hotel quarantine, while indirect flights would also not be possible.

The federal government will review measures closer to May 15 to help some 8,000 Australians return from India, where the army has been called in to help overstretched hospitals amid a deadly second wave of coronavirus infections.

The Indian Premier League is expected to end on May 31, while the regular season ends on May 24. Hence, an extension of the Cricket Australia travel ban would be a significant headache.

The Prime Minister made it clear that the Australians involved in the IPL – a list headed by Pat Cummins, David Warner and Steve Smith – would not be queued for return flights if they were resumed.

“It’s about vulnerability,” Morrison told reporters.

“You went there privately in these conditions, this was not part of an Australian tour.

“You are on your own and will use these resources to see you return to Australia safely.”

Andrew Tye recently dropped out of his IPL stay and returned to Australia while it was still possible to do so via a commercial flight.

Compatriots Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson wanted to do the same, but have yet to land in Australia.

Cricket Australia (CA) could still arrange a charter flight for its IPL contingent, but this would require approval from federal and state governments.

“We will help if possible,” CA said in a joint statement with the players’ union.

“We will continue to work closely with the Australian government.”

The development on Tuesday came when IPL chief Hemang Amin took the unusual step of writing to players and staff to ease mounting fear while also advising that COVID-19 testing would now be required every other day.

The story goes on

“You are perfectly safe in the bubble,” wrote Amin.

“You also play for something much more important … humanity.”

CA has been in regular dialogue with its players, who take part in the lucrative Twenty20 tournament during their annual vacation, and the federal government.

There are innumerable complicating factors for the governing body even before the clout of the Indian cricket board is considered.

It is believed that opinions are mixed among Australian players, coaches, referees and broadcast staff involved in the IPL.

Some are content to move on and finish the tournament because they believe the IPL’s biosecurity bubble is acting as a shield from an escalating health crisis.

Others were already planning to travel elsewhere after the T20 event.

Warner posted a photo of him and Sunriser’s Hyderabad teammate Kane Williamson on Tuesday, both wearing hazmat suits and on board a flight to Delhi.

Western Australia Prime Minister Mark McGowan says it is “annoying” that Australians, including IPL players, have traveled to India amid the nation’s COVID-19 cases.