After a long 117 days of complete silence and uncertainty, cricket is finally returning, having already taken its first big step with the ECB hosting the England-West Indies Test series in a bio-secure bubble. Slowly, club and franchise-based cricket is looking to resume action. Yet the pandemic still stands a huge concern. Amid these, three cricketers from New Zealand are all set to embark on a four-month T20 tour across the globe - first to the Caribbeans for the 2020 CPL, then to UAE for the 13th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
The three will be accompanied by another seven who will leave for CPL this week having received a NOC from New Zealand Cricket (NZC), but unlike the three, the rest will return home on completion.
Santner will first play for the Barbados Trident and then for Chennai Super Kings, being the only cricketer to play both the leagues. Sodhi will be playing for St Kitts and Nevis Patriots and then head to UAE as a spin consultant for Rajasthan Royals. And McCullum will head the two Knight Riders Camp - Trinbago and Kolkata - over the next four months. Ross Taylor, Colin Munro, Tim Seifert, Glenn Phillips, Corey Anderson, Scott Kuggeleijn and Nick Kelly are the other players from New Zealand who will be part of CPL 2020.
"It's an interesting one. I'm going through America and I'll park up in the [airport] lounge in the corner somewhere. It's one of the risks we've got to think about," Santner told stuff.co.nz. "They've put an extensive booklet together about what happens in each circumstance which has been good, and a bit of clarity around where we're staying. It seems like they've got it under control."
CPL will begin from August 18 and end on September 10. The matches will be played at two venues - Port of Spain and Tarouba - behind closed doors. The three will be left with nine days before IPL begins with the SOP or bio-bubble rules at the UAE yet to confirmed by the BCCI.
"At this stage we'll just fly straight across [from the Caribbean]," Santner said of getting to the IPL. "I'm not sure what quarantine looks like yet [before the IPL], but there's some other big dogs like Dwayne Bravo and Brendon McCullum I can tag along with."
"It'll be exciting to play some cricket again," Santner said. "It's been a slow winter but good to be at home for a bit and train and do all the fitness work. Chris (Donaldson, New Zealand strength and conditioning coach) put us through the wringer the last six weeks so it's nice to go away and not see him for a few months."