There was undeniable anxiety once Covid-19 found its way into Indian Premier League’s bio-bubble, as a couple of participants in the recently-suspended T20 league recalled the worries they had for their families, reported PTI.
The T20 league was forced to suspend proceedings indefinitely on Tuesday after a number of personnel across four franchises tested positive for Covid-19.
PTI spoke to some participants in the league to get an insight into the bio-bubble this year.
Shreevats Goswami, a former India U-19 World Cup winner who has played in IPL since its inception, said he does not suspect any player or support staff of violating the Covid-19 SOPs. He is part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad.
“We were well taken care of inside the bubble. None of the players or support staff breached it. But once the virus entered, I will not deny, everyone panicked and the foreigners especially. You can’t really help it,” he said.
“I know I am a sportsman with good immunity. God forbid, if I contract the virus, I would recover. But what if as an asymptomatic carrier, I give it to my aged parents...When virus entered, most players were scared because you don’t want your family to get affected,” he said.
India’s Covid-19 case count breached the four lakh mark once again on Thursday and the daily death toll hovered close to 4,000. The search for hospital beds, oxygen and crucial medicines outside the IPL bubble caused global outrage and an outpouring of support.
IPL cricketers knew and understood the pain, according to Goswami and said the foreign recruits were left fearing for their own safety after they saw images of suffering on social media.
“Obviously you are not oblivious to what’s happening on the outside. When you see people dying because of lack of oxygen, hospitals running out of bed, you feel. For the foreigners, obviously it was scary, what they saw and read on Twitter,” he said.
“We Indian players would try to comfort them that don’t worry things will be okay. Some of them were like ‘what if we get Covid over here? Will our health insurance policy work?”
Cricketer-turned-commentator Deep Dasgupta refused to call the IPL bubble porous but did admit to having anxieties of his own once cases began to rise in Delhi.
“I wouldn’t say bio bubble created this time was porous compared to last time in UAE. We were well taken care of and I felt secure,” he said.
“However, as the cases started rising in Delhi, I was a bit wary. Once you saw how people were suffering, it was disturbing. Also I was tense as my parents still live in Noida. So I was always thinking about them,” he added.
“Once cases started rising in Kolkata, then it was my wife and kids that I was thinking about. But they would tell me that you take care, we are just doing fine.”
Apart from the virus fear, there was also the bubble fatigue that players were battling, something which prompted England’s Liam Livingstone to leave early.
Goswami said moving from one bubble to another isn’t easy on anyone.
“Bubble life can be boring and repetitive...I have been a part of four bubbles. IPL last year followed by Syed Mushtaq Ali, Vijay Hazare Trophy and this IPL...with my wife around, it was easier but for the younger lot it is far more difficult,” said the 31-year-old.
“There are only as many Netflix web series or films that you can watch...when you are left to do nothing, you start thinking, introspecting, at times negative thoughts might creep in.
“Isolation or hard quarantine is the most difficult part. 10 days seem like a month. If your hotel room has balcony then you are a privileged man as you can at least enjoy the morning sun or if nothing else be a star gazer. For others it’s like traveling in a bus, enclosed.”
(With PTI inputs)
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