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Eight England players returned to London on Wednesday after the abrupt suspension of the Indian Premier League (IPL), with tournament organisers planning an airlift to Maldives or Sri Lanka for the stranded Australian cohort.

Hours after the lucrative cricket league was suspended on Tuesday because of India’s COVID-19 crisis, the English members of the Delhi Capitals squad rushed to Delhi from Ahmedabad to catch a flight to Heathrow.

Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler, Sam Billings, Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Jason Roy and Curran brothers Sam and Tom landed on Wednesday morning, an England spokesman told Reuters.

“They will now quarantine in government-approved hotels,” he said.

The 38-strong contingent of Australian players, coaches, umpires and media pundits will have to wait longer, though, to get home, in the face of a ban on arrivals from India until at least May 15.

Cricket Australia said there was a plan to get them out of the pandemic-ravaged country by chartered flight “in the next two or three days”.

“What the BCCI are working to do is to move the entire cohort out of India where they will wait until it’s possible to return to Australia,” CA interim Chief Executive Nick Hockley told reporters in Sydney.

“That’s now narrowed down to the Maldives and Sri Lanka. The BCCI are committed not only to the first move, but also to putting on a charter to bring them back to Australia.”

The CA official refused to speculate if the league could resume this year.

“I think it’s premature to speculate on that,” he said.

“At the moment, the BCCI are very focused on getting all the players, not just the Australians, home safe.”
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Which cricket team will win the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) to be played at Southampton, England from June 18?

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