WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Most New Zealand players, coaches and support staff who were involved in the suspended Indian Premier League will return home on a charter flight Friday.

New Zealand Cricket said national captain Kane Williamson, Black Caps teammates Kyle Jamieson and Mitchell Santner and team physiotherapist Tommy Simsek will remain in a secure bubble in the Indian capital Delhi before flying to London on May 11. An exemption to travel to England could not be obtained before that date.

New Zealand-based members of the New Zealand squad will fly to England on May 16 and 17 for a two-test series and to play India in the final of World Test Championship. They will be joined by Williamson, Jamieson, Santer and Simsek once their isolation is completed.

Fast bowler Trent Boult will return to New Zealand on Friday’s charter flight, will spend time with his family after completing isolation and then will fly to England in early June, in time for the second test against England.

The IPL was suspended on May 4 after players or staff in at least three of the eight competing franchises tested positive for the coronavirus which has swept through India in recent weeks. More than 300,000 new cases per day have been recorded and the Indian health service is under severe strain.

Heath Mills, head of the New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association, said the New Zealand players were eager to leave India as soon as possible. But they, along with other overseas players, have had difficulty finding flights home or to other destinations.

IPL officials and the Board of Control for Cricket in India have worked to find places for overseas players on charter flights or scheduled commercial flights.

“We’ve worked closely with the BCCI and the IPL franchises on the various departure strategies and we’re very appreciative of their support during what is, clearly, a very challenging time,” NZC chief executive David White said. “Were also very grateful to the England and Wales Cricket Board for accommodating the early arrival of the four members of the test squad currently in India.”

White said the New Zealand players would have COVID-19 tests prior to departure.


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