The bio-bubble has taken a toll mentally on players, which is why the ECB has decided to do away with strict Covid-19 protocols for India and England during their five-Test series starting August 4 in Nottingham. Tom Harrison, the chief executive officer of the England and Wales Cricket Board, informed that despite both camps getting effected by Covid-19, there will be relaxations as far as bio-bubble protocols are concerned.
“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,” Harrison was quoted as saying.
“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.”
Not too long ago, several members of the England team had tested positive for Covid, which meant that the players had to undergo isolation and the team was forced to field a second-string team in the ODI series against Pakistan.
On the other hand, on Thursday it emerged that two members of the Indian cricket contingent – wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant and throwdown specialist Dayanand Garani – had tested positive for the virus and that they will not be travelling with the rest of the team to Durham, where India will play a three-day warm-up game against a County Select XI. Harrison implied that the surrounding is something people must get used to and underlined the importance of devising a new blueprint for the road ahead.
“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,” he said.
“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.
“We talk to government all the time. The reality is that the guidelines are set down by Public Health England so we don’t have the ability to create new guidance just for cricket that isn’t sanctioned by PHE or central government. So we are living with the current guidelines but it isn’t impossible to operate within the context of those guidelines to have a successful environment.”