‘New Zealand players may leave for UK from Maldives over the weekend’
Head coach could not confirm if Trent Boult would be available for second Test of England tour
The New Zealand players who left India after the IPL was suspended, and are currently undergoing quarantine in Maldives, may travel to England for their next assignment this weekend. So said their head coach Gary Stead. New Zealand will play a two-match Test series against England starting June 2 at Lord’s, followed by the World Test Championship final against India on June 18 in Southampton.
Stead also said that it is not clear if there will be any form of quarantine for those players upon arrival in England. “I don’t know all the details right now. My understanding is that they are looking to leave (Maldives) somewhere around the time that we leave – May 15, 16 or 17- in that time frame. My understanding is that England board is still working through the final details of what it means to come through the Maldives as supposed to New Zealand.”
The Maldives group which includes Kane Williamson, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, and physio Tommy Simsek were initially told that the quarantine would be only for three or four days, however, it was extended by a week. Though there are no training facilities in the island nation, Stead conceded that “sometimes, a break from cricket can freshen their mind as well.”
“They can still work on their fitness. So I don’t see it as a bad thing. It’s an adapting world and I think that’s just something we’ve got to keep doing,” Stead said.
Trent Boult chose to return home after his IPL commitments and will be missing the first Test against England. It is possible he will be doubtful for the second one too given his bowling workloads. But Stead is confident he will have his left-arm fast bowler back well in time for the World Test Championship final.
“Everyone has got their reasons around it,” Stead said. “India changed very, very quickly, over the space of two or three days, and there were options put in front of the guys and he (Boult) felt for him and his mental health, the best thing he could do was get home for a while.
“He is a professional, he has been there in the international circuit for a long time now. He will be ready. We are working through what build-up looks like to him and his readiness for the World Test Championship final when he comes back to us.”
Meanwhile, it is unclear when the wicketkeeper-batter Tim Seifert, who had tested positive for Covid-19 in India, can get back home. Seifert had failed both his pre-departure PCR tests and has been undergoing isolation in Chennai. He had joined the Kolkata Knight Riders as a replacement for the injured USA bowler Ali Khan during IPL 2020.
“He’s in that difficult situation of being over there and sort of isolated a little bit as well.” Stead said. “Obviously, it was distressing early on to get that news but I think he’s in a much better space now that there is a plan around him.”