IPL: New Zealand Cricket, England Cricket Board working together to charter flight out of India

The Blackcaps and their English counterparts are hoping to charter a flight headed straight to the UK to escape COVID ravaged India, NZ Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills says.

The Indian Premier League has been indefinitely suspended, with several teams recording COVID-19 cases in what were supposed to be bio-secure bubbles.

Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings have all had either players or staff test positive for the virus.

New Zealand currently has at least 20 citizens in the competition - players, coaching staff, team executives and commentators - now all trying to leave the country as soon as possible.

Four Blackcaps - Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson and Mitchell Santner - are due to travel to the UK to link with NZ teammates before their England tour, while another three - Jimmy Neesham, Lockie Ferguson and Finn Allen - would join them to take up short-term county cricket deals.

Fitness coach Chris Donaldson is also supposed to travel to England, along with the Blackcaps' Australian physio, Tommy Simsek.

But the league's suspension has pressed fast forward on those plans, and NZ Cricket and the England Cricket Board have joined forces to get their players to the UK.

England currently have 11 players in the Indian tournament.

Speaking to Newshub, Mills outlines the steps being taken to ensure that the Blackcaps core are able to reach their destination, as soon and as safely as possible.

"It's one thing to want to leave, and get home or get to the UK, it's quite another the logistical challenge," Mills tells Newshub.

"New Zealand Cricket are working really hard with the English Cricket Board, along with the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] to try and facilitate the group going to the UK, but that's a challenge.

"They're coming from different cities within India and obviously will not necessarily be in bio-secure bubbles on those transfers.

"It is a challenge for NZ Cricket. They're working hard though and hopefully there'll be a plan in the next 24-48 hours that will see the group travel on a day to the UK.

"NZ Cricket are working with the ECB at the moment to try and organise a charter flight - or potentially a couple of flights - to get players back into that country.

"English players are in the same situation as New Zealand players. The challenge is that the English border is closed to non-citizens at the moment.

"Just working through the timings and logistics of that is a challenge. All of the options are being looked at in terms of when they depart India, how they depart India and where they go, whether they go somewhere first as a stop-off juncture before the UK.

"All the options are being looked at and hopefully, in the next 24 hours, we'll have the best one."

Elsewhere, the likes of players Adam Milne, Tim Seifert and Scott Kuggeleijn will all have to head back to New Zealand from India, along with coaches Mike Hesson, Stephen Fleming, Kyle Mills, Shane Bond and James Pamment.

Commentators Scott Styris and Simon Doull are also in the same boat. Mills notes travelling to New Zealand from India will be just as difficult as getting the other group to England.

"Obviously, the group coming to New Zealand also has some challenges to overcome," he says.

"Some of the IPL franchises are being very good and there's potential of a charter plane to bring some of them back to New Zealand within the next 24-48 hours, but there are others who'll need to go through normal commercial airlines - and probably through Doha - and connect back to New Zealand that way.

"But with all of those options, there's the logistics of moving around within India. That is a challenge, obviously we're pretty anxious for that to be done as safely as possible, as are the players - clearly.

"There's a bit to work through and we'll know more in the next 24 hours, in terms of confirmation of travel plans, and how people can get home or get to the UK."

Mills also confirms that no New Zealanders have departed India yet.