WELLINGTON: New Zealand batsman Tim Seifert will remain in India after testing positive for Covid-19 but skipper Kane Williamson and four others have been moved to the Maldives pending their departure for England, New Zealand Cricket (NZC) said on Saturday.

International cricketers who were part of the Indian Premier League started heading back home on Wednesday after Tuesday’s abrupt suspension of the Twenty20 competition, a direct consequence of a resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic in India.

New Zealand players in the squad for a test tour of England, which includes the inaugural World Test Championship final against India from June 18 to 22, are scheduled to go straight to Britain after the conclusion of the IPL.

Williamson, Kyle Jamieson and Mitchell Santner, along with team physiotherapist Tommy Simsek, initially decided to remain in New Delhi after they were unable to secure an exemption to travel to Britain until May 11.

“The decision for this group to transfer to the Maldives was taken after advice that their entry into the UK, initially thought to be about May 11, was likely to be delayed a further week,” NZC said in a statement.

New Zealand trainer Chris Donaldson, who previously planned to return home, has now opted to remain with the England-bound players and is also in the Maldives.

Seifert, who played for the Kolkata Knight Riders, was due to return to New Zealand on a charter flight with the IPL’s Kiwi cohort but the 26-year-old failed both his pre-departure PCR tests. NZC said he is experiencing moderate Covid-19 symptoms.

“Once Seifert has undergone treatment and the statutory period of isolation and has tested negative for Covid-19, he will be transferred back to New Zealand where he will undergo the mandatory 14-day period of managed isolation,” NZC added.

Seifert is waiting to be moved to Chennai, where he will undergo treatment in the same hospital where Chennai Super Kings’ Australian batting coach Mike Hussey has been staying after contracting Covid-19.

NZC chief executive David White said Seifert had tested negative seven times in the past 10 days before failing his pre-depature tests.

White said he is confident the player will be well cared for while in quarantine.

“Its really unfortunate for Tim and well do everything for him that we can from this end,” White said. “Hopefully he will be able to test negative and be cleared and approved for discharge as soon as he’s well again. Since receiving the news we’ve organised support for Tim and have also via the Players Association been in contact with his family to ensure they’re kept fully informed and updated on developments.

Black Caps bowling spearhead Trent Boult is also among the 16 IPL players, officials and media returning to New Zealand and will spend time with his family before joining the Test squad in England.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2021

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