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Foreign cricketers expected to start leaving India today after IPL suspension

Foreign cricketers, including 10 New Zealanders, are expected to start leaving India following the suspension of the Indian Premier League.

Kane Williamson is back at Sunrisers Hyderabad for the new IPL season. Source: Getty

The world's richest Twenty20 tournament was put on hold indefinitely following positive Covid-19 tests in a fourth team on Tuesday.

A player from Sunrisers Hyderabad, where Kane Williamson was captain, tested positive before Tuesday night's game against Mumbai Indians, meaning the game didn't take place.

The Black Caps captain was one of 10 New Zealand players involved in this year's IPL, with another seven involved as coaches or support staff.

No New Zealanders were thought to have tested positive for Covid-19.

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) sent out a brief statement on Tuesday night, saying it remained in contact with the New Zealand contingent involved in the tournament.

"The players are in a relatively safe environment and those within affected teams are in isolation.

"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."

Rohit Sharma and Trent Boult of the Mumbai Indians (file picture). Source: Photosport

Four of the New Zealand contingent at the IPL were scheduled to head to England following the competition to prepare for the World Test Championship final.

While finer details of exit plans were still being worked through, it was expected those players would now head to the UK earlier than planned.

They would need to do a 10-day quarantine upon arrival, before linking up with the rest of the Black Caps squad, which was set to depart New Zealand on May 15.

It was understood the players and staff heading back to New Zealand would be allowed to return and go through the normal 14-day managed isolation process, once MIQ vouchers had been secured.

None of the New Zealanders involved in the tournament were expected to have to spend time in another country before either heading home or to England.

Brendon McCullum. Source: Photosport

That placed them in a different situation to the contingent of around 40 Australians, including 14 players, in India for the IPL.

Travel restrictions made it a complicated process, given Australia had banned travellers from India, including its own citizens, from entering the country until May 15.

Former test player and commentator Michael Slater, stranded in the Maldives, had earlier criticised the ban on arrivals from India, saying Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has "blood" on his hands.

India's cricket board said it would be doing everything in its power to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants.

"We have been working on their travel plans in consultation with their respective boards so that each of them reach home safely," the BCCI official said, requesting anonymity.

"Some of them will return home tomorrow (Wednesday)."

IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel said the league would facilitate a smooth passage for all the foreigners.

"Franchises will make their arrangement to send them back. We will extend whatever help is required," Patel said.

Over the weekend, India recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll since the pandemic began.

The country has recorded more than 20 million cases, and so far reported more than 222,000 deaths from the virus.

rnz.co.nz