Psychologists to monitor T20 World Cup players, ICC says

The logo of the International Cricket Council (ICC) at ICC headquarters in Dubai, October 31, 2010. – Reuters / File.
  • Pandemic tension has become increasingly apparent in recent months with England’s Ben Stokes on extended mental health break.
  • A number of players have missed or left the conclusion of the Indian Premier League in the UAE due to the stress of bio-bubbles.
  • Players and support staff will be required to spend six days in isolation upon arrival and pass three tests.

DUBAI: Psychologists will monitor T20 World Cup players to help deal with the growing number of mental health cases in coronavirus safety bubbles, cricket’s governing body said on Thursday.

The pandemic strain has become increasingly apparent in recent months with England’s Ben Stokes on extended mental health hiatus, and other leading players complaining about the pressures of going from bubble to bubble during various tours and tournaments.

A number of players have missed or left the conclusion of the Indian Premier League in the UAE due to the stress of bio-bubbles.

And the 16 World Cup nations, from the United Arab Emirates and Oman on October 17, will be confined to their hotels for most of the month-long tournament.

“Some people will be affected, their mental health will be affected by being in confined conditions again, especially maybe those who have been in it for an extended period,” Alex Marshall, head of the integrity and biosecurity of the International Cricket Council.

“The ICC will have a 24-hour psychologist to speak to anyone who asks for help.

“We’re also providing (a lot) of resources, so people can decide what’s the best way to solve the problem for them.”

Following feedback from leading players, including Indian captain Virat Kohli, many teams have stepped up their psychological support to players ahead of the tournament.

Players and support staff will be required to spend six days in isolation upon arrival and pass three tests before moving to a managed environment for training.

Marshall said fans looking for selfies will be kept away from gamers.

“The players will be separate and will have to stay in the managed environment, so there will be no direct physical mix between the fans and the players and I’m sure everyone understands,” he said.

“As long as we maintain this reasonable separation and this group maintains these disciplines, we shouldn’t have any other issues throughout the tournament.

“So I’m concerned that at this World Cup (there) won’t be an ‘arm around the shoulder selfie opportunity’ with the players.”

Marshall said the ICC learned from the Tokyo Olympics, the Formula 1 World Championship, Euro 2020 and the IPL.

He added that players will be allowed to relax in their bio-secure space with a round of golf or a sightseeing tour.


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