LONDON — Constantly living in bio-bubbles has harmed players’ mental well-being. Now it is vital to ensure the well-being of everyone involved with the sport, said Tom Harrison, the Chief Executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Ben Stokes, the English all-rounder, took a break before the ongoing Test series between India and England to focus on his mental well-being. Questions were also raised on whether the bubble life will be sustainable in the long run or not.
“What we are learning from this experience of Covid-19 is the absolute significance of mental well-being along with physical well-being, and these two are related to each other,” said Harrison. “If we are asking senior players to be at their very best when they put on an England shirt or an Indian shirt, we better be providing them an environment to flourish, and that is looking after their well-being, ensuring they get a good time of rest and the access to their families.”
“We are starting to understand the impact of bubble life, but, unquestionably, it has harmed the mental well-being of players and support staff. From our point of view, we are starting to understand that to fulfill our complex Future Tour Programs, we need to have deeper squads.”
“We cannot prioritize everything; it is unrealistic to do that. And it is unrealistic to expect players to take the field every single time. England plays more than any team; we take this responsibility very seriously; the key point is to put people first and monitor mental health in the way the game has not done in the past.”
Whether England players will be allowed to take their families Down Under for the Ashes is not known. Both England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket Australia are in discussions regarding this point, but clarity is still awaited.
“At the moment, we are having the right discussions with senior members of Cricket Australia; my latest conversation was yesterday,” said Harrison. “They have got all the right connections with senior government officials in Australia to enable us to state our case here, and that is what we are doing.”
He said that they are doing their best to ensure the message is delivered regarding their reasonable requests and genuinely believes they will get to a satisfying solution to these discussions, which are tough, and politically charged in Australia.
“International Cricket Council needs to represent its members as a global governing body. Some realities face the world, certainly around India’s influence and economic strength in the game of cricket, which is unlike any other major sport,” said Harrison, when asked whether England, Australia, and India should get more revenue from the International Cricket Council.
“That is a fundamental reality, the International Cricket Council’s responsibility is towards all its members, it is important we get that right, and we can continue to grow cricket. I do believe International Cricket Council has a responsibility towards all its members.”
The second Test between England and India started on Aug. 12.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra
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