Never in the cricket world, mental health was a defining or even more significant determining factor. Since the Covid-19 began, the confinement has led to an open discussion of a serious matter “Mental health issues” afflicted by the new normal. Even during the critical time, Indian cricket had to head ahead. Thus, the foundation of “Bio-bubble” began.
August 2020, Indian cricketers left for Indian Premier League, 2020 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) the beginning of bio bubble journey for the players. So, when in September 2021 the cricketers traveled to you UAE again for the second half of Indian Premier League 2021; the mental health status of the players became a focus subject.
Mental Health, the deciding factor.
Points like fitness, skill, and selections obviously are of significance but the deciding power goes to the mental health of the Indian cricketers.
In the last 15-month India has played most crickets compared to the rest of their opponents. Second in lines are Australia and England. They played cricket with enough help and services for mental health problems. Most importantly the freedom to pick and choose their tours and series.
Earlier this year England went a three-month tour in Sri Lanka and India which is a great example. As the players did not have to endure bio bubble for the season. Not to forget Ben Stokes skipping the big event serves as a reference to what could have been done for the Indian cricketers.
With the references from few other sides, here is a summary of the India Cricketers Fatigue meter. This abstract meter includes break besides the interval during Bio bubble period.
Bio bubble life: August 2020.
The common bubble breaks are:
- After Australia tour, January 2020: 6-days break
- May 4, Indian Premier League cancellation before England tool: 14 days break
- World Test Championship (WTC) final 2019- 21: 21 days break
Other breaks include medical emergency, family emergency, self-injuries and more. Hence, we have decided to categorize the reason of the break.
There are total of six injury breaks.
- Rohit Sharma: 39 – days injury break, November 11 – December 18, 2020.
- KL Rahul: 27- days injury break.
- Ravindra Jadeja: From January 11, 60 – days injury break.
- Mohammed Shami: 90 days injury break.
- Varun Chakravarthy three breaks in total: After Indian Premier League 2020, 4-month injury break, 40 days break and 21 days break after Sri Lanka tour.
- Bhuwanesour Kumar: From October 2, 2020 60 days injury break before Mushtaq Ali. The February month he was in bubble for England series. 40 days before and 21 days after Sri Lanka Tour.
Virat Kohli: 38 days paternity leave.
Breaks before and after a tour or series
- Suryakumar Yadav two breaks in total:45 days break before Mushtaq Ali and after Indian Premier League 2020. Then again in bubble for February during England series. 40 days break before Sri Lanka tour.
- Hardik Pandya three breaks in total: After the T20, 50 days break. From May 3, 40 days break and 21 days break after Sri Lanka tour.
- Ishan Kishan same break category as Suryakumar Yadav but with an addition: 45 days break before Mushtaq Ali and after Indian Premier League 2020. Then again in bubble for February during England series. Finally, 21 days break after Sri Lanka tour.
- R. Ashwin: Before Indian Premier League 14 days break.
- Rahul Chahar: After Indian Premier League 2020, two-month break, 40 days break from May 4 and 90 days break after Sri Lanka Tour.
Jasprit Bumrah: 14 days wedding break.
No Break at all: Rishab Pant
In contrast to rest of the team in World Cup 2021, Indian cricketers endured the strictness of a Bio bubble mechanism. The Indian cricketers had little to no breathing room before, after or in between the tournament. No luxury of forfeiting the Indian Premier League, not even during a vicious and devastating pandemic. Not a single instance, where players had the choice to skip a series or tours.
Fortunately, this year the International Cricket Council (ICC) has made arrangements for 24-hour psychological assistance during the T20 World Cup 2021. However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has yet to take a decision regarding the mental health of their players.
Besides the mental health assistance, the Indian players with the rest of the contenders have access to varieties of entertaining leisure activities.
- A swimming pool
- Golf courses nearby
- Last but not the least close quarters with loved ones.
Due to the broadcasting duties, Deep Dasgupta, the former India wicketkeeper trapped in bio-bubble paints a picture of the confinement.
“It’s like a pressure cooker with no safety valves. It’s even harder when the spotlight is on you and you’re playing in a high-pressure tournament. Players run out of things they could do in bio bubbles”