Cricket: Foreign Indian Premier League players reportedly to start leaving COVID-19 ravaged India immediately

  • 05/05/2021

Foreign players, including ten New Zealanders, are expected to start leaving India following the suspension of the Indian Premier League.

The lucrative T20 tournament was put on hold indefinitely on Tuesday (NZ time)  following positive COVID-19 tests in a fourth team.

A Sunrisers Hyderabad player, where Kane Williamson is captain, tested positive before Tuesday's scheduled game against Mumbai Indians - the game was subsequently postponed.

This came after Monday's match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore was postponed after two KKR players tested positive.

India's cricket board says it will do everything it can to arrange the secure and safe passage home of all the participants.

Ten New Zealanders players are spread among the eight franchises, with another six coaching, while four of the New Zealand contingent had planned tp head to England following the tournament to prepare for the World Test Championship final.

Those players will need to do a 10-day quarantine upon arrival in England if the arrive direcrly from India.

No New Zealanders are thought to have tested positive for COVID-19.

"We have been working on their travel plans in consultation with their respective boards so that each of them reaches home safely," a BCCI official said requesting anonymity told the BBC. 

"Some of them will return home tomorrow [Wednesday]."

IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel said the league would facilitate a smooth passage for all the foreigners.

"Franchises will make their arrangement to send them back," Patel said.

"We will extend whatever help is required," Patel said.

His assurance notwithstanding, existing travel restrictions make it a complicated process for many, especially the 40-odd Australian contingent, including 14 players, in India.

Australia has banned travellers from India, including its own citizens, from entering the country until May 15.

Before the postponement of the league, New Zealand Cricket sent out a brief statement.

"NZC remains in contact with the New Zealand contingent in the Indian Premier League.

"The players are in a relatively safe environment and those within affected teams are in isolation.

"We'll continue to liaise with the BCCI, the ECB and New Zealand government authorities in terms of managing their situation - but at this juncture, it's too early to discuss potential options."

Over the weekend, India recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll since the pandemic began.

The country has recorded more than 20 million cases, and so far reported more than 222,000 deaths from the virus.