Dubai: A day after Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli sent out a note of caution for adhering to the bio bubble in the new normal, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson called for all stakeholders to be vigilant against the COVID-19 pandemic - which is seeing a second wave of sorts around the world.
Williamson, due to leave on Thursday to join the Hyderabad Sunrisers squad in the United Arab Emirates for the IPL, said: “There’s a little bit of apprehension, certainly as you get nearer to the time ... you start thinking you do have to be extremely vigilant and disciplined.’’
The IPL said last Saturday that 13 members of the Chennai Super Kings, including two players, had tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in the UAE and had been placed into isolation.
“Obviously that’s bad news,” Williamson told Radio New Zealand on Wednesday. “You don’t want to hear anybody (has) COVID.
“I hear they are predominantly asymptomatic, so hopefully through another lockdown period, they can come through and we’ll be okay.
Players have also been warned about breaching their bio-security bubble during the tournament, that starts on September 19 with matches to be played in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.
Williamson is among six New Zealand cricketers scheduled to play in this year’s IPL, while another eight are in Trinidad for the Caribbean Premier League.
New Zealand’s men’s team have not played since March when their limited overs series in Australia was abruptly postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.
They are still expecting to host the West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Bangladesh this summer.
Gary Stead reappointed
Meanwhile, Gary Stead has been reappointed as New Zealand men’s cricket coach until after the next one-day World Cup in India in 2023, the country’s board said on Wednesday.
Stead signed a two-year deal to succeed Mike Hesson in 2018 and has continued to build the side, guiding them to a second successive World Cup final last year.
They are also ranked second in the world Test rankings following series wins over England and India. “It’s an honour and a privilege to be re-appointed,” Stead said in a statement on Wednesday. “I think this group of players is growing as a team.
“I know everyone is feeling very optimistic about our chances in all three formats.” New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive David White said the reappointment had been the subject of a “robust” review process that involved consultation with the players.
Local media had reported there was some tension between Stead and Williamson, which both parties have denied, though the latter candidly said any differences of opinion were geared around how to improve the team.
“At times, we have differences of opinions, I don’t think that’s an unhealthy thing,” Williamson said. “It’s always working towards a similar goal and we both want what’s best for the team, so there’s not a whole heap (to it) really.”