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Mental health in a bio-bubble for IPL stars

Sep 19, 2020 19:52 IST

The Indian Premier League amid the Covid-19 pandemic seemed highly unlikely until UAE approached the BCCI to host the cash-rich league. Cricket came to a standstill but UAE government's assurance of a bio-secure bubble with precautions raised hope and the Indian government finally gave IPL a nod. As per the standard operating procedures, it was mandatory for all the players and staff members to undergo a 7-day quarantine which included Covid-19 tests on every alternate day before training resumed for all the franchises. Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli stressed upon the fact that how important it was to respect the bio-bubble. But life in quarantine is not just about isolation but also about how well do players manage their mental health. Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting reiterated the fact that with all the protocols in place, this season of the IPL is even more challenging. Players also faced issues managing their mental health. Complete isolation in a foreign country without a family member made Ravichandran Ashwin frustrated and he called quarantine in UAE the worst time of his life. The off-spinner said that when he was at home for the last five-six months, he had people to fall upon but that wasn't the case while quarantining in UAE. The 33-year-old added that he heavily depended on his mobile phone to pass time, which was making him sick. He couldn't even read the books as his concentration was all over the place. RCB leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal also opened up on the challenges faced in a bio-secure bubble and said that training and living in the bubble is very different. But he is mentally prepared to be in the bubble till the situation all over gets back to normal. Kings XI Punjab pacer Mohammed Shami said that 6 days of isolation in UAE felt more than the 4 months everyone had to quarantine themselves in India. Though there won't be much workload issue for the players as despite back to back matches and training, players won't have to travel much since all matches will be played across 3 venues this season. But maintaining discipline in such an unprecedented environment is surely difficult and players' mental health is bound to take a toll.