Frontline bowler Trent Boult is contemplating a scenic route to the World Test Championship final, after this week's collapse of the Indian Premier League.
The lucrative Twenty20 competition finally pulled the pin, after players and staff in several teams - supposedly operating in secure bio bubbles - tested positive for COVID-19, as the pandemic wreaks havoc on the subcontinent.
While most of the Blackcaps test squad have now secured flights directly to England for an extended build-up to the world final at Southampton, Boult and trainer Chris Donaldson will return to New Zealand tomorrow for family time, before rejoining them.
"We're completely supportive of Chris and Trent taking the opportunity to see their families before heading to the UK," says NZ Cricket chief executive Dave White.
"They have always been the consummate professionals and we're more than happy to accommodate these arrangements."
Boult will spend two weeks in quarantine, emerging on May 22, spend a week with his family at Mt Maunganui, before leaving for England in early June. He'll definitely miss the first of two tests against England and possibly the second, compromising his preparation for the championship final.
The balance of the IPL-based test players - captain Kane Williamson, Kyle Jamieson and Mitch Santner, along with physio Tommy Simsek - will stay in India until May 11, the earliest they can be exempted to arrive in England.
"We've worked closely with the BCCI and the IPL franchises on the various departure strategies, and we've very appreciative of their support during what is - clearly - a very challenging time," says White.
"We're also very grateful to the England & Wales Cricket Board for accommodating the early arrival of the four members of the test squad currently in India."
Players, staff and commentators returning to New Zealand from the IPL will adhere to all protocols, including pre-departure COVID-19 tests. NZ-based test players will leave for England on May 16/17.
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