The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been postponed amid the country's Covid crisis, leaving England's squad among those looking for safe transit home.
After holding an emergency meeting, the Indian Premier League Governing Council and Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced that the tournament will be suspended "with immediate effect".
England’s IPL contingent – limited-overs captain Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Dawid Malan, Sam Billings, Chris Woakes, Chris Jordan, Tom and Sam Curran – have been receiving daily advice and support from the England and Wales Cricket Board, while being reminded that any decision over their participation was an individual one.
While the ECB has hitherto kept its involvement at that distance, it would now be expected to play a key role in helping bring the players back to British shores.In a statement, the IPL said, "The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL.
"This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and wellbeing of all the stakeholders in mind."
The lucrative Twenty20 cricket competition has been held without spectators every evening, despite India’s already fragile health system being pushed to the brink by a second wave of the pandemic.
On Monday, two players tested positive for Covid. Subsequently, the Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore match was postponed. There has also been multiple reports of franchise bubbles being breached by infections.On Tuesday, India's official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million, with a top expert warning that the coming weeks in the country of nearly 1.4 billion people will be "horrible".
The IPL added: "These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times."
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