Australian cricketers Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson escape India via travel ...

Two star Australian cricketers have escaped Covid-ravaged India via a travel loophole just days before it will be made illegal for the 34 remaining players, coaches and commentators to return.

Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson touched down in Melbourne late Thursday afternoon via a commercial flight from Qatar, exposing a gap in Scott Morrison's travel ban.

The Prime Minister said that loophole, which also included some flights from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, was now closed to prevent arrivals from the world's Covid epicentre where 400,000 new cases were reported on Saturday.

Mr Morrison's government yesterday went a step further as it unveiled an emergency bill that will see anyone arriving from India jailed for up to five years or fined up to £37,000.

Thirty-four Australians remain in India - 12 players, 11 coaches, four commentators, two umpires and five support staff, and a commentator from New Zealand who lives in Australia.

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Adam Zampa

Kane Richardson

Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson touched down in Melbourne late Thursday afternoon via a commercial flight from Qatar, exposing a gap in Scott Morrison's travel ban.

Funeral pyres have been burning around the clock in cities across India to cope with the dead (pictured: a crematorium in Bengaluru)

Funeral pyres have been burning around the clock in cities across India to cope with the dead (pictured: a crematorium in Bengaluru)

Mr Morrison promised that the sporting stars would not receive any preferential treatment under the new rules to protect Australia's successful zero Covid strategy

Mr Morrison promised that the sporting stars would not receive any preferential treatment under the new rules to protect Australia's successful zero Covid strategy

Among the star players are Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins, Steve Smith and David Warner, while big names like Ricky Ponting, Simon Katich and David Hussey are working for clubs or for broadcasters.

Cummins' contract is worth £1.8 million, while Warner is earning £1.3 million. 

In addition to the cricketers, more than 9,000 Australian citizens are believed to be in India. 

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Mr Morrison promised that the sporting stars would not receive any preferential treatment under the new rules to protect Australia's successful zero Covid strategy.

'They have travelled there privately,' the PM

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