Cricket is also a sport that has been greatly affected by the pandemic. Plenty of cricket matches had to be canceled or postponed. Many tours just didn’t happen because the leagues and teams are ensuring everyone’s safety.
Take for example the Indian Premier League. The IPL usually takes place sometime in March to May, but it had to be moved to the latter part of the year. It’s already on-going at the moment and you can easily check today’s cricket match online, However, the return of the IPL wasn’t easy to plan. Changes had to be made and the people involved had to be assured of their safety.
The return of the IPL isn’t exactly what sets the standards of today’s cricket amidst the pandemic. International cricket resumed in July and the IPL only started in September. In July, the West Indies and England took part in a test match at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton in England.
Caution had to be practiced and as part of safety, the match had to take place in a stadium with no spectators. This was when the bio-secure bubble started to be adopted by the cricket scene as it was a success.
The bio-secure bubble or the bubble is a closed environment for the people who are involved in the series. It’s not as simple as putting people inside a bubble or one place to make sure no one gets infected. There is a process and it takes a lot of effort to ensure that the bubble is secure.
Before entering the so-called bubble, the leagues and the organizers will have to make sure that the accommodations are taken care of. Whoever will take care of the teams and staff during the series shall also be part of the bubble.
Medical screening facilities will also have to be setup. Sanitizing amenities and the grounds will have to be constant. The players, the sportspersons, support staff, coaches, broadcasters, and everyone else involved should have their own spaces assigned to them. Protocols that weren’t present before had to be implemented and of course, the government will also have to give the leagues a clearance to proceed.
People may think that the people in the bubble will have things easy then as everything seems to be taken care of by the league. However, being part of the bubble itself is already quite a challenge. The IPL and other cricket series like the Big Bash League last for 2 to 3 months and this could take a toll on everybody in the bubble.
So far, there are already athletes that have opted out of the competition because of the bubble-like England’s Jofra Archer. Archer explained that it is mentally challenging to be in the bubble and it’s mainly why he opted out of the upcoming Big Bash League in December.
Archer said, “I’ll tell you; it has been mentally challenging. I‘ll be honest with you, I don’t know if I have much more bubbles left in me for the rest of the year. I haven’t seen my family, really, since February. The IPL is going to be most of October, November, we’re going to South Africa hopefully as well. That only leaves me with a few weeks in December for the rest of the year. I love my Hobart family, but I think I need to spend some time with my real family as well.”
He also said, “When the year turns, we’re going to be back in the bubble in the UAE and then India. Family time is really important, especially when you actually cannot see them physically. So, any time off I’m going to spend with them.”
Another athlete who may not join the Big Bash League bubble is Sunrisers Hyderabad’s, David Warner. According to James Erkine, his manager, Warner opting out of the upcoming BBL is not about money. Erkine said that if Warner does opt out of the BBL, it will be because he’d like to spend time with his family.
Now, the BBL is likely to take place in a bubble, but there are still people hopeful that fans will eventually be let in the stadium before the series ends in February of next year. This could be something that the leagues would fight for as it is quite a crisis for them to not have ticket sales. Club-level cricket and other sports events that are not popular on TV audiences usually rely on ticket sales as a critical source of income.
We are still a few months away from the BBL but it is more likely that it will take place in a bubble. It’s still hard to assume the possibility of allowing fans in stadiums for any sports as of the moment. For now, the bubble is what’s mainly allowing sports to continue during a pandemic.