England will not be playing some of their biggest stars in order to give them a break from Covid induced lockdown which continues to affect players’ mental health. A report in NZ Herald says the likes of Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali won’t feature in the series opener against New Zealand which is set to begin on June 2. Some of these players are already in lockdown in designated hotels near Heathrow airport in London where they landed from India after the suspension of IPL 2021. Most of these players are not only short on match practice but also want a break from quarantine life.
Woakes, who is a premier fast bowler of the team, is reportedly limiting himself to just 15 minutes of workout in his hotel room and short of workload which is needed to play an international match. The plan now is to pick a 16 man squad but that is bound to throw up some unknowns for sure.
ECB bans ‘Bio-Bubble’
The ECB has also banned the word ‘bio bubble’ and replaced it with ‘team environment.’ The move has been taken with an eye on players’ mental well-being. Some of the players associate the word with forced isolation and watertight protocols. Meanwhile the ECB has warned the players that they must prepare themselves for more quarantine life even as situation improves in the country. Later this year, they will be heading to Australia where foreigners are already banned from entering as of now. Last year it was in England that cricket finally resumed when West Indies came calling. Back then, players were kept in isolation with each and everyone asked to have meals on separate tables.
Trent Boult to Miss Series
New Zealand pacer Trent Boult returned home as IPL 2021 was suspended. This means he will not feature in the two match Test series. Meanwhile New Zealand Cricket Body has no problem with it. “He’s got a young family and he wanted to come home to see them – we totally support that,” NZC chief executive David White was quoted as saying by the 1 News.”He is the consummate professional and we know he will prepare and get ready for the Test Championship final so we’re supportive of him.”