New Zealand players might travel with India to UK for WTC Final after IPL 2021

Written by Abhishek Patil

New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills on Wednesday said the BlackCaps players who are featuring in Indian Premier League (iPL) 2021 might travel with Indian players to the UK for the World Test Championship. Mills hinted the same, citing strict quarantine protocols if the New Zealand players return home after the IPL and then travel to the UK.

The likes of captain Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson and Mitchell Santner are among 10 New Zealand players in the different franchises of the IPL.

New Zealand will play a 2-match Test series in England from June 2 and the country’s cricket board has named a 20-member squad. The final of the World Test Championship between India and England will get underway on June 18 in Southampton.

“they can’t very well come home, do the two weeks isolation and then go to England, so they’re going to have to be there (India) until the round-robin finishes, or the final series,” Mills told,nz.

“Then we’ve got other players who are coming home – logistically there’s not a lot of flights. It’s not easy to sort out the logistics. We’re working closely with NZ Cricket and they’re in touch with the BCCI and the ICC,” he added.

Not all the 10 players in the IPL are in the New Zealand squad bound for England. Scott Kuggeleijn, Jimmy Neesham, Adam Milne, Finn Allen, Lockie Ferguson and Tim Seifert are not in the team.

Mills said New Zealand Cricket has been in close contact with the players, their respective IPL teams, the BCCI, ICC and also with the England and Wales Cricket Board, according to the PTI.

Mills also stressed that none of the New Zealand players have indicated any desire to return home from IPL 2021 despite growing anxiety due to rising Covid-19 cases in India which has been hit hard by second wave. As many as 3 Australia players withdrew from IPL 2021 midway due to personal reasons. The list includes Adam Zampa, Kane Richardson and Andrew Tye. England batsman Liam Livingstone also pulled out from IPL after joining the Rajasthan Royals squad.

“There’s no doubt they’re certainly anxious about what is happening in India and what they’re witnessing,” Mills said.

“Whilst they’re anxious, they’re ok. No one has indicated yet that they want to go home.”

Mills said the players feel they are well looked-after by their IPL franchises and safe in their bio-bubbles.

“There’s four teams in a hotel and the hotel is locked down. The challenge is when they transfer from city to city, then they need to put on the PPE gear and that’s when they’re probably most at risk.

“The players are in the safest place in India, in the team bubbles, which is the most important thing from my perspective.”

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Abhishek Patil