Pakistan’s bowling coach and former captain Waqar Younis is concerned about the mental health of players as they endure isolating bio-secure bubbles to play cricket internationally or domestically in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Waqar said that he is worried that players in Pakistan might face mental health issues if cricket continued to be played for more time in the Covid-19 situation.
“It is not easy for players or officials to spend so much time in the bio-secure conditions and it could eventually affect their mental health,” he said.
Players, while competing, are being completely isolated from their surroundings in bio-bubbles to negate the risk of infection.
The former fast bowling great said that he could understand the changed situation due to the pandemic but insisted that cricket boards need to seriously look at the mental health aspect as well while organising matches.
“This is an issue that is not just about Pakistan cricket but concerns the entire cricket world,” he said.
Waqar pointed out that recently some bilateral tours had not come off because of disagreements between boards over the quarantine and isolation periods for players and support staff.
“It is difficult for players and support staff to spend days and weeks at end in a restricted environment. The tour to England was a learning curve for us in this regard and that is why I am concerned about the future,” he said. “I just hope that the Covid-19 situation does not continue for a long time,” he added.
Waqar also felt that any player opting out of matches or tours because of Covid-19 restrictions should not be disrespected. He cited the example of Pakistani batsman, Haris Sohail who had opted out of the tour to England for the same reason.
“If was his decision and one we have to respect because he is an established Test player for us,” he said.