As the 14th edition of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) got suspended midway, the foreign cricketers, who were part of the tournament, are now trying to leave India as soon as possible and even their respective cricket boards are now making the necessary arrangements to bring back their players home.
The authorities in Australia, South Africa, England and New Zealand have rushed to evacuate their players from Covid-hit India, which has witnessed a massive spike in cases.
Cricket Australia (CA) said plans have been made to fly its contingent, comprising players, staff and commentators to either Maldives or Sri Lanka in the next couple of days.
However, the Aussie contingent found themselves in a dilemma as their nation had banned the entry of anyone from India and threatened that anyone entering from India before it reopnes its doors will be put behind bars.
With such restrictions, the Aussie group is expectedy to be chartered back to Australia once the ban has been lifted, with the help of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
“The BCCI is working through arrangements to repatriate all the players, the support staff, and umpires commentators as quickly and safely as possible,” said Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia’s interim CEO.
They are “working to move the entire cohort out of India… the BCCI has been working on a range of options. That’s now narrowed down to the Maldives and Sri Lanka,” he added.
However, the Australian contingent leaving India will not include Chennai Super Kings (CSK) batting coach Michael Hussey, who tested positive for Covid-19 and is in isolation.
Commenting on Hussey, Todd Greenberg, the Australian Cricketers’ Association chief executive said: “His symptoms are relatively mild. So he’s okay, he’s in for a stint of isolation in his hotel room for at least 10 days, but he’s in pretty good spirits.”
Significantly after two Kolkata Knight Riders players tested positive on Monday, two more cricketers tested positive for coronavirus on Tuesday — Delhi Capitals (DC) leg-spinner Amit Mishra and SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha.
On the other hand, the Kiwi cricketers are trying to travel to the United Kingdom as they are scheduled to play a Test series against hosts England in June.
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said it was trying to organise a charter for Test players Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson and Mitchell Santner. However, Britain is only allowing its own citizens to travel home from India.
New Zealand Cricket spokesman said they were confident of getting border exemptions for its players travelling to UK while another charter flight was possible to transport its contingent New Zealand.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) said that they were in contact with their players and support staff and were arranging to bring them home.
Earlier, three Australian players — Adam Zampa, Andrew Tye and Kane Richardson — had returned home earlier, pre-empting a travel ban on flights from India
Significantly, the cash-rich IPL, which was being held in biosecure “bubble”, saw the presence of several ace cricketers from around the world.