After the IPL was suspended indefinitely due to a COVID-19 outbreak in its bio-bubble, IPL chairman Brijesh Patel said that the BCCI would “find a way” to send the league’s foreign recruits back to their respective countries.
Sunrisers Hyderabad wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha and Delhi Capitals veteran spinner Amit Mishra both tested positive for COVID-19, resulting in the tournament’s suspension. When asked how the foreigners would return home, Brijesh told, “We need to send them home and we will find a way to do that.” He did not elaborate further.
Owing to travel restrictions levied in the aftermath of a deadly revival of the pandemic in India, foreigners participating in the lucrative league are worried about returning to their respective countries. The BCCI had previously assured international players of a secure return.
After three withdrawals a few days ago, the IPL had 14 Australian players left, along with 10 New Zealanders and 11 Englishmen. There were 11 South Africans in the league, as well as nine West Indians, three Afghans, and two Bangladeshis. New Zealand Cricket has expressed trust in the BCCI’s handling of the situation.
“The players are in a relatively safe environment and those within affected teams are in isolation,” read an NZC statement posted by ‘ESPNcricinfo’.
“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.”
Players from India and New Zealand were scheduled to fly together on a charter flight to the United Kingdom, where they would face off in the World Test Championship final in June. The Australians have been the most outspoken about their fears of all the foreign recruits.
On Monday, cricketer-turned-commentator Michael Slater fled to the Maldives, where he launched a scathing attack on his country’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison for refusing to allow his people to return from India, calling the travel ban, which is in effect until May 15, a “disgrace.”
Because of the huge COVID-19 outbreak in India, Australia has closed its borders and is not allowing any commercial flights from India, putting all players, support staff, and pundits who might have wanted to leave the IPL in the middle in a bind.
“If our Government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home. It’s a disgrace!! Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like this. How about you sort out quarantine system. I had government permission to work on the IPL but I now have government neglect,” Slater tweeted.
Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell said a few days ago that his country’s cricketers would be willing to fly on the same charter flight that would take India, New Zealand, and England players to the UK after the IPL.
L Balaji, the bowling coach of the Chennai Super Kings, as well as Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers Sandeep Warrier and Varun Chakravarthy, both returned positive results on Monday.