Indians stuck in bubble as England players get time off

Chennai, Feb 3 (IANS) While England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is taking care of their players in the bio-bubble by giving them regular breaks, there is no such plan for the Indian cricket players who have been going about series after series with the same set of players and not resting any.
While England players, who are to play 17 Tests, the Indian Premier League (IPL), and World T20 this year, have rested Jonny Bairstow and Sam Curran for the first two Tests after the duo featured in the two Tests in Sri Lanka and will send back Jos Buttler after the first Test, India’s top players have had a busy schedule right from August when they went to the UAE to prepare for the IPL.
None of the India players had seen their families — or been part of their sorrow or joy — from August till January 20 when they reached home from the victorious Australia campaign. After a week, the players entered the bubble for the England Tests that begin on Friday. India will play four Tests, five T20Is and three ODIs against England. Then, a week after that, India players will enter the bubble for IPL.
Asked if being in the bio-bubble is affecting them or tiring them mentally, India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane said that they are not mentally tired since they have their families and spending time in team room.
“We are not mentally tired at all. We are really tough mentally and we are as a unit, we are as a family. We are enjoying each others’ company here, so we are spending time in our team room. The families are here which is really important and which is really good. We are not at all tired and we are really mentally tough,” said Rahane on Wednesday in a virtual interaction with the media.
The Indian cricket board has, however, picked 18 players in the squad for the first two Tests. They have also included five net bowlers and five players as stand-byes.
Picking additional players in squads is the norm nowadays and England batting consultant Jonathan Trott pointed that out on Wednesday.
“Having a large squad with players and reserves has been different to how previous tours have been but it is normal now,” said Trott while speaking to the media on Wednesday.
India benefitted from a big squad in Australia recently as readily available replacements for injured players helped them win the four-Test series 2-1.
On Tuesday, England pace bowler Jofra Archer had acknowledged the steps taken by ECB.
“Anyone who has criticised it (ECB resting key players) never spent a week let alone months in the bubble. We have been here for almost a year now. At the end of the day, human beings are social people. Sometimes it becomes hard because if you are not having a great game or if you are not feeling good with your cricket, there is no escape,” Archer told the media.
“I think ECB has done great, given people like myself time. I have had six weeks away. I think Jos (Buttler) will have some time after the first Test. So they are making a priority that everyone gets time away and come back refreshed and ready to go.”

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