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How will IPL's foreign players return home?

Last updated on: May 04, 2021 19:52 IST

We will find a way to send back foreign players, says IPL chairman Brijesh Patel.

Aussie players Marcus Stoinis, Steve Smith, Moises Henriques and Daniel Sams after an IPL match.  CA is in contact with BCCI to ensure safe repatriation of Australian contingent, ANI has reported.

IMAGE: Aussie players Marcus Stoinis, Steve Smith, Moises Henriques and Daniel Sams after an IPL match. CA is in contact with BCCI to ensure safe repatriation of Australian contingent, ANI has reported. Photograph: PTI

IPL chairman Brijesh Patel on Tuesday said the BCCI will "find a way" to send the league's foreign recruits back to their respective countries after the event was suspended indefinitely due to a COVID-19 outbreak in its bio-bubble.

The suspension of the tournament was announced after SunRisers Hyderabad's wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha tested positive for COVID-19 along with Delhi Capitals' veteran spinner Amit Mishra.


"We need to send them home and we will find a way to do that," Brijesh told PTI when asked how will the foreigners return home but did not elaborate beyond that.

The foreigners involved in the lucrative league are concerned about returning to their respective countries due to travel restrictions imposed in the wake of a deadly resurgence of the pandemic in India.

The BCCI had assured foreign players of a safe return earlier as well.

The IPL had 14 Australian players left, after three pull-outs a few days ago, along with 10 from New Zealand and 11 Englishmen. South Africa had 11 players in the league, which also featured nine West Indians, three Afghans and two from Bangladesh.

New Zealand Cricket expressed faith in BCCI's ability to handle 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."

India and New Zealand players were supposed to travel together in a charter flight to the UK where they will clash in the World Test Championship final in June.

On Tuesday, Cricket Australia said that it is in direct contact with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to ensure safe accommodation and repatriation of the Australian contingent.

"Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association understand the decision of the BCCI to indefinitely postpone the 2021 Indian Premier League for the safety and wellbeing of all participants," a joint statement from Cricket Australia (CA) and ACA read.

"CA is in direct contact with the BCCI as they work through plans to ensure the safe accommodation and repatriation of Australian players, coaches, match officials, and commentators back home to Australia," it added.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison had last week announced a ban on passenger flights from India till May 15 and he also said that there would be no special privileges given to the Australian players in India.

Cricket Australia said it will not seek an exemption on the travel ban and thanked BCCI for their efforts to ensure the safety of all participants at the IPL.

"CA and the ACA respect the decision of the Australian Government to pause travel from India until at least May 15 and will not seek exemptions," the statement further read.

"CA and the ACA thank the BCCI for their efforts and cooperation for the safe repatriation of all participants at the IPL," it added.

Reacting to the big BCCI move, Cricket South Africa (CSA) said it is in contact with its players who will need to home quarantine on arrival from India as per the World Health Organization recommendations.

"Those travelling back to South Africa will undergo home quarantine in line with the current World Health Organization recommendations," it said in a release.

"CSA and the South African Cricketers Association (SACA) are in contact with all players and are assured of their safety and comfort in their respective locations."

CSA said it supported the BCCI decision of suspend the league keeping in mind the current situation and thanked the Indian board for looking after its players.

"CSA supports the decision to put the health and safety interests of all involved in the tournament first and foremost and has made contact with all of the relevant franchises to ensure the expedited travel of all South African players and support staff back to our shores."

Returning will not be straightforward for England's World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan, who leads IPL's Kolkata franchise, and 10 of his compatriots either.

Britain added India to its travel "red-list" last month, which means the English contingent will have to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel.

The England and Wales Board (ECB) said it was in touch with the English contingent "as arrangements are put in place for them to return home safely".

"The ECB ...thanks the BCCI for its commitment to do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all those taking part in the competition," an ECB spokesperson said.

Of all the foreign recruits, the Australians have been the most vocal about their anxieties.

On Monday, cricketer-turned-commentator Michael Slater, who was doing commentary in the IPL, escaped to Maldives and launched a scathing attack on his country's Prime Minister Scott Morrison for not allowing its citizens to return from India, calling the travel ban, till May 15, a "disgrace".

A couple of days back, Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell said that the cricketers from his country wouldn't mind travelling in the same charter flight that would take India, New Zealand, and England players to the UK after the IPL.

On Monday, Chennai Super Kings bowling coach L Balaji along with Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers Sandeep Warrier and Varun Chakravarthy had also returned positive results.