COVID-19 & IPL 2021: Australia cricketers rattled by falling Chinese rocket debris in Maldives

The Chinese space station rocket during launch last month
The Chinese space station rocket during launch last month Image Credit: AP

Dubai: Nearly 40 Australian cricketers, officials and coaches were rattled by the sonic boom of Chinese rocket debris that crashed into the Indian Ocean of the Maldives coast on Sunday.

The Aussies, including Test stars Steve Smith, David Warner and Pat Cummins, are quarantining at a resort in Male after the Indian Premier League (IPL) was postponed indefinitely due to bio-bubble breach.

“We heard the bang around 5.30am. Experts say the noise we heard is the crack in the atmosphere which sets off a wave of sound not the actual impact of the rocket,” Warner told The Australian.

The contingent will fly back to Australia once it completes the quarantine period mandated by the country.

China had, on April 29, launched a module for setting up its first permanent space station in orbit and it was known that the rockets carrying the main module would re-enter earth’s atmosphere around Saturday or Sunday.

The China Manned Space Engineering Office had allayed global fears that the falling debris would cause any damage, saying that most of the debris “would burn up in the atmosphere”.

But the uncontrolled re-entry into the atmosphere, with some remnants falling at a few locations in Maldives, has drawn flak from Nasa.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India had sent the Aussies to the Maldives as there is a ban on direct flights to Australia due to the COVID-19 situation in India.