Auckland, May 9: The second batch of New Zealand cricketers and coaches, who were involved in IPL 2021, have reached home safely by private jets after the indefinite suspension of the T20 tournament midway into the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This means all the Kiwis, part of the league, have arrived home.
The cash-rich league was suspended on May 4 after multiple COVID-19 cases were reported inside its bio-bubble. Cricketers Trent Boult, Finn Allen, Jimmy Neesham, Adam Milne and Scott Kuggeleijn, coaches and former players James Pamment and Shane Bond, and Royal Challengers Bangalore's director of cricketing operations Mike Hesson were the first to land here late on Saturday night.
They arrived on board a Bombardier Global Express private jet via Tokyo in the first of two chartered flights repatriating the Kiwis after the league was suspended. On Sunday, former Black Caps captains Brendon McCullum and Stephen Fleming were among the second group of cricketers to touch down here.
A second private flight of Vistajet carrying McCullum, Fleming, fellow IPL coach Kyle Mills, Kiwi fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, commentators Simon Doull and Scott Styris, and umpire Chris Gaffaney also safely landed at the Auckland Airport on Sunday (May 9) evening.
All the players and coaches went into managed isolation upon arrival, according to a report in stuff.co.nz. Wicket-keeper batsman Tim Seifert, who tested positive for COVID-19, is still in India and was awaiting his transfer to a private hospital in Chennai, the same facility in which former Australia player Michael Hussey was being treated after testing positive earlier in the week.
New Zealand's UK-bound Test contingent, including skipper Kane Williamson, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, and physio Tommy Simsek, have been transferred to the Maldives. As per the original plan, they were supposed to stay in New Delhi.
The decision to transfer the players to the island nation came in the light of advice that their entry into the UK, initially thought to be around May 11, was likely to be delayed further by a week. New Zealand play a two-match Test series against England beginning on June 2 before facing India in the World Test Championships final at Southampton from June 18.
(With PTI inputs)