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Bio-bubble fatigue or a 'fake bubble burst'? Fans seek answers

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By Chetan Sharma

New Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) Remember the image shared by India captain Virat Kohli last month on social media with his tongue lolling out as he lay on a chair tied with a rope? He captioned it: “This is what playing in bubbles feels like.”

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The captain was probably hinting at something, which the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the cricket pundits ignored at that time. Or, perhaps, they laughed it off! However, following India’s surrender in both their ICC T20 World Cup matches, the debate has gathered momentum.

Some suggest that non-stop cricket before the T20 World Cup and the bio-bubble led to the fatigue, manifesting in India’s below-par performance.

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Seamer Jasprit Bumrah, too, said on Sunday night that bio-bubble fatigue creeps into players’ minds even as they try their best to adapt to the new normal of playing the sport amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

He added that the players do feel the pangs of having to stay away from their families but stressed they don’t think of all these issues when they step on to the field to represent the coutry.

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In fact, BCCI medical advisor Dr. Ashok Ahuja too had expressed his concern over the issue a few months back. “Living in a bio-bubble for long has its own problems. If the team does not address the fatigue caused by the bubble, then their performance in the World Cup may be affected,” he had said.

So the question that arises is, when the players and officials in the board knew about the consequences, then why nothing was done to ease the burden? During the IPL 2021 second leg, several foreign players expressed their reservations over playing in the league, citing fatigue issues.

But none of the Indian players came forward officially to highlight the issue which, it seems, cost India dear in the ICC event in the UAE. After returning from the England tour, Indian cricketers joined the IPL bubble and then shifted to the World Cup bubble.

However, in the wake of the disastrous outings so far, the millions of Indian fans sold on cricket are seeking answers, bio-bubble fatigue or not.

A netizen wrote, “This wasn’t a bio-bubble thing, it was actually a fake bubble created around the star-studded team which eventually burst.”

Another tweeted, “Bubble fatigue being cited for our abject surrender, what about other players and other teams? Haven’t they faced the same bubble fatigue, they’ve also been playing IPL and other cricket confined to bio bubbles becoz of covid? you lost it is a disgrace, move on.”

Some even questioned the timing of Virat Kohli’s announcement to step down from T20 captaincy days before the start of the World Cup. “What was the hurry? It created some sort of confusion within the team, it seems,” wrote one.

A former cricketer told IANS on condition of anonymity that Indian players will have to decide what is more important for them. “IPL or playing for the nation? They are smart enough and know how too much cricket can create problems. The BCCI can’t just ignore the major tournaments for the sake of the league,” he said.

In sports, winning or losing is a part of the game, but losing without a fight is unacceptable. The outgoing captain and head coach, Ravi Shastri, will have to come up with a winning strategy before the next game.

Batters such as Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Rishabh Pant, Ishan Kishan, Surya Kumar Yadav and the ‘now fit-now-unfit’ Hardik Pandya need to take the responsibility, so that bowlers have a decent score to defend.



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