Sam Curran expects England players to "pull out at different stages" due to bio-bubble stress

Secluded life playing cricket within strict COVID-19 protocols can take a lot of mental toll on cricketers.

Sam Curran | GettyWith it being widely acknowledged now that life within bio-bubbles is more of a mental challenge for cricketers than physical, all-rounder Sam Curran stressed how the gruelling schedule may see England players pulling out of assignments at different stages through the winter. 

After hosting West Indies, Ireland, Pakistan and Australia in a busy summer within strict COVID-19 protocols, most of England players entered another such tough environment in UAE for the IPL 2020, which runs till November 10. But now another lengthy period of frequent testing and uncompromisable isolation awaits, with tours to South Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Netherlands lined-up till they return home next summer. 

Read Also - Mentally challenging bio-bubbles may force England players to pull out of tours: Morgan 

And so, while Curran realises how "fortunate" players like him are to be able to play their beloved sport in the middle of a raging pandemic, he also thinks it's important for them to look after their mental well-being. 

Yet, this isn't as simplistic as it may sound, given that no player would want his replacement to come in and nail down the spot that ideally he would be taking. 

"It is very tricky," Curran told Sky Sports' 'IPL Cricket Show', "but we're in a very fortunate situation, playing the game we love, going out there and trying to entertain people at home - there's a lot of people in tough situations. It can be tough - if you're in all three formats, you're obviously travelling into different bubbles, not being able to spend time with family, loved ones things like that."

"I know speaking to the other England players that it is tricky. You look at the tours coming up and there's going to be a big schedule for all-format players. Some guys, I'm sure, will have to pull out at different stages. Some guys react to it differently: there are days when you're struggling, and days when you feel like you're coping OK."

"We've just got to keep trying to enjoy it: it can be tough at times, and it's just about trying to speak to the right people around you, and trying not to get too down on the down days, because there can be quite a few."

Curran also spoke of his experience playing the IPL this year under Mahendra Singh Dhoni's recognised captaincy style for Chennai Super Kings (CSK). The young cricketer is one of their few bright spots in an otherwise disappointing campaign. Curran is CSK's highest wicket-taker for the tournament with 13 wickets at an economy rate of 8.22 and has scored 186 runs at a strike-rate of 131.91. 

Curran has gained Dhoni's trust so much that he was even asked to open the innings in three matches before being shifted back. The left-hander says the communication from the skipper was to bat like Sunil Narine used to at the top for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR). 

"It came about because in our first couple of games we were quite slow out [of] the blocks in terms of our powerplay," Curran said. "You've seen KKR have sometimes done it with Narine, sending him out there with no fear of getting out. It is probably the best place to bat: you look at the England side, and all the guys want to bat up top. MS said to express myself and not try too hard."

"MS has sent a clear message to us about taking these last few games because we can definitely spoil a few other teams' chances of qualifying. You've seen the young guy Ruturaj Gaikwad come in for the last few games and get some amazing fifties."

"Now that we're out of the tournament, Chennai have sent quite a clear message about giving the youngsters an opportunity, and so far the guys that have come in have done really well," he added. 

(Inputs from ESPNcricinfo)


By Kashish Chadha - 01 Nov, 2020

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