Tom Harrison, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Thursday said that the board decided to give relaxations in the bio-bubble looking at players’ welfare and their mental health. Earlier, three England players and four members of the support staff tested positive for COVID-19, and as a result, the management had to pick a completely different squad for the ODIs against Pakistan. Ahead of England’s five-Test series against India starting August 4, India wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant tested positive for COVID-19.
While Pant is nearing completion of his self-quarantine period, training assistant Dayanand Garani too tested positive for COVID-19, said the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday.
“We want people feeling good about going out and playing in whatever tournament they’re playing in, whether that’s the Hundred, whether that’s a Test series against India, whether that is county cricket and the RL50,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Harrison as saying.
“We want people to be feeling like their life is delivering for them, both at home and as professional cricketers, men and women.
“We don’t want to be closeting players in such a place where they feel like the only role they play in their life is to go out and bat and bowl for whatever team they’re playing.
“I think that’s a bad place for us to be. We have to be understanding about what it is to be a responsible employer, to be able to get the best back from players.
“That’s by treating them like adults, and talking and communicating openly about how we best mitigate the impacts of this ongoing pandemic,” he added.
Talking about looking after players, Harrison said: “You have got to listen to what they have been telling us, and it’s been very clear to most boards around the world that we need to listen more to the voice of the players.
“Because they have got lives too and in some cases very young families, who they have been pulled apart from for very long periods of time.
“I am afraid there comes a point where it is no longer an acceptable answer to go again, ‘once more unto the breach dear friends’.
“I do not believe that is an acceptable place for responsible employers to continue to go. So it is about balance,” he added.
The Test series between India and England will commence on August 4 at Trent Bridge.
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