Players begin leaving India

Kane Williamson. Photo: Getty Images
Kane Williamson. Photo: Getty Images
Foreign players, including ten New Zealanders, are expected to start leaving India following the suspension of the Indian Premier League.

The world's richest Twenty20 tournament was put on hold indefinitely following positive Covid-19 tests in a fourth team.

A Sunrisers Hyderabad player, where Kane Williamson is captain, tested positive before last night's game against Mumbai Indians. The game didn't take place.

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

India's cricket board says they'll do everything in their powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants.

There are 10 New Zealanders playing the T20 tournament and another six coaching.

Four of the New Zealand contingent at the IPL were scheduled to 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.

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 reach home safely," the BCCI official said requesting anonymity.

"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. 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."

New Zealand players and staff could well spend time in another country before either heading home or to England.

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.

Former test player and commentator Michael Slater, stranded in the Maldives, had earlier criticised the ban on arrivals from India, saying Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has "blood" on his hands.

RNZ/Reuters

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