ICELAND’S volcanic eruptions have prompted a desperate International Cricket Council to consider flying England’s players out of the country via helicopter and low-flying aircraft to ensure their participation at next week’s World Twenty20 tournament in the Caribbean.With air traffic grounded across Europe on account of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano, ICC chief executive Haroon Lorgat last night told the Herald of plans to charter flights from Dubai to the Caribbean to ensure all players could attend the tournament. Lorgat added that cricketers based in the UK could meet the Dubai charters via helicopters and aircraft not susceptible to volcanic ash.”We will do everything possible to ensure the players get to the Caribbean,” Lorgat said. ”We will find a way to get them there, even if that means chartered flights out of Dubai. There is some optimism that recent test flights could open the door for normal flights to resume but, if not, we will look at all possibilities to ensure the attendance of players from the UK, even if it means getting them to Dubai on helicopters and low-level flights.”Cricket Australia officials are awaiting confirmation of the ICC’s contingency plans for the World Twenty20, which begins on April 30. The team is scheduled to depart on Thursday ”We’re liaising very closely with them but we’re deferring any comment for now,” spokesman Peter Young said.Meanwhile, Iceland’s volcano has done what the NRL could not – tie down Karmichael Hunt. The former league star, now plying his trade in French rugby union, is just one of many Australian and international athletes affected by the Eyjafjallajokull eruptions, having been forced to cross France overland after continental flights were grounded.Hunt was a member of the Biarritz side forced to take the long train trip to Paris for their crunch match against Racing Metro after their original flight was cancelled.He expressed his displeasure before the match, writing on his personal Twitter account: ”Our flight to Paris is cancelled due to ash. we may have to take the Bus, not happy!”The Hockeyroos face a different challenge, having already arrived in Chile for a tournament. Doubt remains over the other participants, apart from the hosts.Perhaps the sport hardest hit has been football. Fulham’s Australian goalkeeper, Mark Schwarzer, has seen preparations for his side’s Europa League semi-final against Hamburg thrown into chaos after the players were forced to drive from London to Germany. Schwarzer has called for their opponents to suffer a similar journey for the return leg.Barcelona have also hit the road on the 1000 kilometre trip to Italy for their clash with Inter Milan to keep their Champions League semi-final date. Lyon are planning similar measures if they can’t fly to Germany for their clash against Bayern Munich.Other Australians affected by the ash include tennis players Sam Stosur and Alicia Molik, who need to get to the Ukraine for a Fed Cup World tie.After their FINA World Series event in Sheffield, England, was cancelled, many of the world’s top divers – including Matthew Mitcham – were stuck in Mexico, forcing them to compete again in that country.
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