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IPL 2021 postponed due to rising coronavirus cases means Kent captain Sam Billings has returned to the UK

Kent captain Sam Billings has now returned to the UK after the Indian Premier League was postponed on Tuesday.

Billings has not featured for Kent this season having spent the first part of the campaign at the IPL with Delhi Capitals, although he has not featured in any of their matches so far.

Kent captain Sam Billings is due to return to the county earlier than expected after the IPL was postponed. Picture: Ady Kerry
Kent captain Sam Billings is due to return to the county earlier than expected after the IPL was postponed. Picture: Ady Kerry

The decision to postpone the competition comes after a number of cases among teams across the league in the past few days.

The game between Eoin Morgan's Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore was postponed on Monday after two KKR players tested positive.

A Sunrisers Hyderabad player tested positive before Tuesday's match against Mumbai Indians and Wednesday's game between Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals had earlier been called off after Chennai bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji tested positive.

A statement issued by the IPL said: "The BCCI does not want to compromise on the safety of the players, support staff and the other participants involved in organising the IPL.

"This decision was taken keeping the safety, health and wellbeing of all the stakeholders in mind.

"These are difficult times, especially in India and while we have tried to bring in some positivity and cheer, however, it is imperative that the tournament is now suspended and everyone goes back to their families and loved ones in these trying times.

"The BCCI will do everything in its powers to arrange for the secure and safe passage of all the participants in IPL 2021.

"The BCCI would like to thank all the healthcare workers, state associations, players, support staff, franchises, sponsors, partners and all the service providers who have tried their best to organise IPL 2021 even in these extremely difficult times."

Billings was among eight of the 11 England cricketers to have returned, along with the likes of Jos Butler and Jonny Bairstow, and they will now have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days. Following that, he could be available for Kent, dependent on whether the IPL can resume in some way. The other three England cricketers are due back soon.

India recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll since the pandemic began at the weekend.

Teams in the IPL have been operating within their own bubbles but players will now be making arrangements to return home.

Billings' return will be warmly welcomed by supporters, with Kent winless after four County Championship games this season.

Kent host Glamorgan at Canterbury from May 20, and their next match after that is at home to Northamptonshire from June 3.

Read more: All the latest sports news in Kent

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