Eight of England’s 11 Indian Premier League players returned to Heathrow this morning and are beginning a 10-day hotel quarantine, the England and Wales Cricket Board has announced.
World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan, Dawid Malan and Chris Jordan have yet to leave India following the tournament’s postponement on Tuesday but are expected back by the end of the week.
As soon as the competition was suspended, with coronavirus surging through the population and three separate franchises reporting positive cases inside their bubbles, there was a scramble to access flights back to London.
Jos Buttler was among the eight English players to return to the UK from India this morning
But World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan (L) and Dawid Malan (R) remain in India for now
What is the ‘red list’?
India was added to the UK Government’s ‘red list’ of countries on April 23.
This means any British nationals or those with residence rights arriving in the UK from India must quarantine for 10 days in an approved hotel upon arrival. They must take a Covid-19 test on days two and eight.
Other countries also on the ‘red list’ include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Pakistan, Qatar, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates
Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Sam Billings, Moeen Ali and Sam and Tom Curran were all successful in securing bookings.
Yet all three English players still in India are expected to be on their way within 48 hours and, while Jordan accepts suspending the tournament was inevitable as soon as three franchises reported positive cases inside their camps, he insists he has felt secure throughout his stay in India.
‘These are tricky times, you see the news and you hear things that are happening and it’s a real shame to see what the people in India are going through,’ he told PA news agency.
‘You monitor the situation on a daily basis and everyone has done everything possible to keep the bubbles secure.
‘I would say I’ve felt safe the whole time here; they have so many things put in place and precautions being taken. The next step now is getting out safely and I’m sure they’ll see to that as well, but it might take another day or two.
‘Obviously the last couple of days some new cases came to the fore, a couple of bubbles were breached, and that kind of thing starts to dominate conversations.
‘It was always going to be difficult to continue and I think in the end the right call was made so people can get home to be with their families and look after loved ones.’
There has already been plenty of debate over whether the IPL should have continued as long as it did against the backdrop of a dire public health emergency but Jordan believes the organisers were right to suggest a nightly offering of sporting entertainment might have offered some fans a welcome diversion.
Chris Jordan is the third English player who remains in India following the IPL’s suspension
Covid patients sharing a bed at a New Dehli hospital are given oxygen as they fight for their lives
‘I would agree with that. Once you come to India and spend a bit of time, getting to know the people and the place you realise how big cricket is in the culture,’ he said.
‘It means a lot to people over here to watch their favourite players and their teams on TV each night.
‘Knowing there was so many people out there watching and hoping you could bring a smile to their faces, that almost spurred you on to go that extra mile and put on a show.’
The IPL was suspended indefinitely on Tuesday after a third team was affected by a Covid-19 outbreak.
English bowler Chris Woakes is back in the UK after the IPL’s suspension on Tuesday
India is now reporting a seven-day average of more than 350,000 Covid cases (left), while the average number of deaths over the last week has risen to nearly 3,500 – which most believe is an under-estimate (right)
Sunrisers Hyderabad wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha returned a positive test on Tuesday, prompting all fixtures to be suspended with immediate effect.
They are the third team to be affected in the space of a few days after the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Chennai Super Kings.
With the Covid bio-bubble now breached in both Ahmedabad and Delhi, two of the venues hosting the Twenty20 tournament, the organisers took the decision to suspend matches.
It comes as India struggles to cope with the Covid-19 crisis as cases soared past 20 million and deaths approached 220,000 with the health system on the verge of collapse.
Wriddhiman Saha of Sunrisers Hyderabad is the latest IPL player to test positive for Covid-19
The 36-year-old wicketkeeper batsman returned a positive ahead of their game on Tuesday
Saha, 36, returned a positive test on Tuesday ahead of the Sunrisers’ match against the Mumbai Indians at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi.
It follows the postponement of Monday’s game between the Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Ahmedabad after two Knight Riders players, Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive.
They are believed to have been exposed to the virus, which is rampant across India, after leaving the bio-secure bubble to go to hospital for injury scans through the IPL’s ‘green channel’.