Buttler not behind the door as he warns ‘bubble’ may burst on SA tour

England wicketkeeper urges teammates to speak up on potential burnout or claustrophobia

England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler in action during the First Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park, Centurion in December last year.
England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler in action during the First Test against South Africa at SuperSport Park, Centurion in December last year.
Image: GETTY IMAGES/ STU FORSTER

Living in claustrophobic bio-secure bubbles can take its toll on mental health and players should not feel under any pressure not to speak up if they cannot cope during England’s tour of SA, vice-captain Jos Buttler has said.

Players have been living in bubbles since cricket returned in July after the Covid-19 hiatus, with strict rules enforced to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

England’s players have spent the most time in bubbles, starting with four series at home while many also participated in the two-month-long Indian Premier League in the United Arab Emirates.

“I found it was tougher to escape staying at hotels on the grounds in England,” Buttler told reporters. “They were high-pressure matches and when you’ve put a lot into the game, it’s nice to get away.

We all go through it at different stages where you feel a bit homesick or claustrophobic ... We just want to make sure everyone in the squad is aware of that
England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler

“We won’t get to fully enjoy SA but everyone has become accustomed to what it’s going to be like. But if you’re feeling under pressure or not quite yourself, the key is to have the confidence to open up and talk about it.

“We all go through it at different stages where you feel a bit homesick or claustrophobic ... We just want to make sure everyone in the squad is aware of that. The ECB is excellent at looking after the players’ mental wellbeing.”

England’s limited overs captain Eoin Morgan said last month players can withdraw from tours if they feel playing in bio-secure bubbles amid the pandemic will take a toll on their mental health.

England will play six limited-overs matches — three Twenty20 games followed by three one-day internationals — in SA between November 27 and December 9. 

Reuters


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