Aussie crick­eters head into virus bub­ble

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE - SYD­NEY -REUTERS

Cricket Aus­tralia will closely mon­i­tor the men­tal health of play­ers liv­ing in­side a bio-se­cure bub­ble dur­ing the up­com­ing lim­ited-overs tour of Eng­land, cap­tain Aaron Finch said.

The team de­parts Sun­day for a tour orig­i­nally sched­uled to take place in July but post­poned be­cause of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

In or­der to play their first in­ter­na­tion­als in al­most six months, the Aus­tralians have agreed to strict biose­cu­rity plans which in­clude play­ing at venues with on­site ac­com­mo­da­tion.

The ar­range­ments raise the prospect of long pe­ri­ods iso­lated in ho­tel rooms, and Finch said Cricket Aus­tralia wanted to en­sure the play­ers' men­tal well­be­ing.

"That's go­ing to be some­thing that's go­ing to be a real is­sue, it's go­ing to be some­thing to mon­i­tor heav­ily," he told re­porters in an on­line con­fer­ence.

"I know from an Aus­tralian point of view that there's a lot of work go­ing on be­hind the scenes to make sure there's check­points in place to en­sure we un­der­stand and recog­nise when things might be a lit­tle bit off."

Finch said a sports psy­chol­o­gist was trav­el­ling with the team and had spo­ken to all play­ers to help them de­velop in­di­vid­ual plans to cope.

With some play­ers trav­el­ling straight from Eng­land to the In­dian Pre­mier League in the United Arab Emi­rates after the tour, Finch said crick­eters had to adapt to the bio-bub­ble en­vi­ron­ment.

"It could be a few months that you're in these bio-bub­bles and be­ing stuck in these ho­tel rooms for weeks or months on end can be re­ally tough," he said.

Finch urged all play­ers to ac­cept the in­con­ve­nience of bio-bub­bles and quar­an­tine to help keep in­ter­na­tional cricket op­er­at­ing through the pan­demic.

"We're in a po­si­tion to con­tinue the global ga­methere should be no more mo­ti­va­tion than that," he said. "At the end of the day, if that falls over then we're all out of jobs.

"There's been so much work gone in from thou­sands of peo­ple to give us the op­por­tu­nity to play in­ter­na­tional cricket again." Finch said he would sup­port other com­pro­mises, such as mov­ing the Box­ing Day Test against In­dia from Mel­bourne to an­other venue as his home­town strug­gles to con­tain a COVID-19 out­break.

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