Cricket South Africa confirmed on Tuesday morning that it was helping South African players and coaches who were at the IPL to get back to the country after the lucrative T20 tournament was postponed earlier in the day.
Cricket SA said it had “made contact with all the relevant franchises, to ensure the expedited travel off all South African players and support staff back to our shores.”
There are 11 South African players dotted around five different franchises at the tournament. The likes of Eric Simons (Chennai Super Kings) and Jonty Rhodes (Kings XI Punjab) are also still stuck in India.
The IPL, worth about $4.5-billion dollars, had taken place despite soaring cases of Covid-19 in India. While the eight teams had been moving around between six cities in the last month, isolated from the devastation that the coronavirus was causing in that country, on Monday three players in the Kolkata Knight Riders team and later three officials in the Chennai Super Kings team, including bowling coach, Lakshmipathy Balaji, tested positive.
On Tuesday, wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha, who players for the Sunrisers Hyderabad also test positive for Covid-19.
Getting the players back into SA will prove extremely challenging. IOL Sport understands that at least one player has been able to book himself onto a flight at midnight (SA time) on Wednesday, but some confusion reigns over those in the Chennai and Delhi Capitals teams who have been told to isolate in India for seven days after they were exposed to individuals who’d tested positive.
Players contacted by IOL Sport described chaotic scenes within their teams, with players and officials scrambling to find flights out of India. Cricket SA and the SA Cricketers Association – the players union – have been in touch with the plasters in the last week as the situation in India has worsened.
Unlike Australia, which has banned all travellers from India, South Africa’s travel rules only require proof of a negative test 72 hours before travelling, to be allowed into the country.
“Those travelling back to South Africa will undergo home quarantine in line with the current World Health Organization recommendations,” CSA said on Tuesday.
South African players at IPL
Quinton de Kock, Marco Jansen – Mumbai Indians
AB de Villiers – Royal Challengers Bangalore
Faf du Plessis, Lungi Ngidi, Imran Tahir – Chennai Super Kings
Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje – Delhi Capitals
Chris Morris, David Miller, Gerald Coetzee – Rajasthan Royals