India captain Virat Kohli has said that while trying to "cover up" for the amount of cricket lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic, authorities must be mindful that cricketers aren't lost to burnout.
"We've spoken a lot about this [bubble life]. The good thing is we've played a tournament like the IPL," Kohli said ahead of India's T20 World Cup opener, against Pakistan. "Every day you have a new challenge in front of you. The tournament builds up and you are working towards a goal. Similarly, the World Cup too brings the same motivation, you are playing a multi-national event, you are playing against various teams - some of them you've never gotten a chance to play against. These things allow you to keep the focus.
"But going forward, I understand we've lost some time without cricket [during the pandemic] but in trying to cover that up, if you lose players then world cricket is not going to be better off. So there has to be a balance in the future. Players also have to be spoken to. In a bio-bubble, you can't say which player is in what situation. Just because five-six players are laughing around , doesn't mean all the 15-16 are feeling the same. It's important to have communication with players and give them a period where they can mentally refresh themselves and come into such an environment once more to compete."
India have had a particularly busy time, home and away, in bio-bubbles of varying elasticities, in the past year. IPL 2020 ran from September 19 to November 10. India then toured Australia, playing all three formats, from November 27 to January 19 this year. After that, India took on England in a home series, again playing all formats from February 5 till March 28.
IPL 2021 began in India on April 9 and went on till May 2 before being suspended due to the pandemic. India then toured England for the World Test Championship final and a series that was halted after the fourth Test, with the WTC final starting on June 22 and the fifth Test postponed on its opening day on September 10. The second leg of IPL 2021 began in UAE on September 19, finishing on October 15. India stayed on in the UAE for the ongoing T20 World Cup, the final of which will be November 14. India will face New Zealand in a T20I in Jaipur on November 17. The three-match T20I series will be followed by two Tests.
Kohli has spoken about mental-health management in the past too, saying at the start of this year that he believed it would become more important than ever before.