Despite the COVID-19 outbreak rampaging within several cricket teams, including India, the England Cricket Board (ECB) has decided the upcoming five-Test series would not occur under strict bio-bubble protocols. On Thursday, it emerged that Indian keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and a support staff member tested positive for COVID-19. But ECB declared that bubbles have taken a lot of toll on people; hence, they have decided to do away with it slowly.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, professional cricket has happened within the bio-bubble, with strict restrictions on players’ movements. However, it has undeniably taken a mental toll on the cricketers as they have had to stay away from their families for more than five months. Hence, several cricket boards have considered lifting them slowly. But those breaching the bio-bubble guidelines in the past have received harsh punishments.
Tom Harrison revealed they are in a different scenario from it was six to twelve months ago, regarding how they deal with the outbreak. Harrison underlined they are trying to create safe environments for people and different to the bio-secure atmosphere. He admitted players are tired of hearing terms related to bio-secure bubbles and the jargon used. Hence, they have found it difficult to operate with that kind of environment and believe it’s going to be so in the future.
“We’re in a different scenario to 12 months ago or even six months ago really with respect to how we cope with Covid. We’re really trying to learn how we live with it and create safe environments for people as opposed to bio-secure environments. There’s a huge difference between the two. Players are just fed up with bio-security and bubbles and that language we have become so used to using. It’s had such a detrimental impact on mental health for players, time away from families. We are just not able to operate that kind of environment going forward,” Harrison said as quoted by Cricbuzz.
We have to learn to cope with Covid: England Cricket Board CEO
Tom Harrison further claimed that the pandemic is here to stay and trust the protocols built to prevent the infection. The 49-year old stated that teams must also ensure to take an extended group of players for overseas series. Hence, Harrison hopes for the remainder of the summer to progress without further mishaps.
“We have to learn to cope with Covid. We’re going to be living with it now for the foreseeable future so mitigation is the word as opposed to prevention. We think we’ve built in enough protocols now just to try and mitigate the impact of frankly inevitable infections. I think that is where we are trying to ensure that we don’t have instances where entire squads are taken out of circulation because of one or two local infections. So we’re working very hard to make sure those protocols are in place for the remainder of the season. We’ve communicated these protocols to the various camps and various teams and also the international and county environment,” he added.