The teams featuring in the T20 World Cup will have access to 24-hour assistance of psychologists to help players cope with mental health issues in the bio-bubble.
“We should expect that the mental health of some people will be affected by being in confined conditions, particularly for those who have done it for a long period of time. The ICC will make available 24-hour psychologists for any individual who seeks help,” Alex Marshall, the head of integrity at the International Cricket Council, said during an interaction on Thursday.
“The squads are also bringing their own medical staff and have their own systems to make sure that they take care of their players.”
The tournament begins next week and will be played across the United Arab Emirates and Oman and provisions have been made to offer the players some freedom. “It will be possible to play golf in a golf course, where we have set aside the area for them so that they (do not mix with the crowd),” Marshall stated.
In a bid to maintain the bubble and health protocols, the ICC has formed a bio-safety scientific advisory group, which will be meeting every day. “We should expect that we will get some positive cases. When someone is found positive, it will be referred to the bio-safety scientific advisory group. The person who tests positive will be isolated for 10 days and the close contact – who has been with him for more than 15 minutes and without masks – will have to isolate for six days,” Marshall said.
The ICC has also shared a detailed document with the teams on the dos and don’ts in the bio-bubble.
“The teams have a detailed plan sent to them so that they understand the rules that they have to follow throughout the tournament. All these events depend on good discipline, and if people stick to the rules and maintain discipline, we should not have any problems. We do not want to see any breaches. We think people understand how important it is, but we also expect team management to strictly adhere to the rules,” Marshall said.
The ICC has allowed crowds of up to 70 percent capacity at the stadiums in the UAE. – GETTY IMAGES
“If there is a breach, that is the matter of the management of the squad, and we would expect (them) to treat it very seriously.”
The ICC has decided to allow about 70 percent of fans in the stadiums and there are some guidelines for them as well. “Within the stadiums, masks are required under the current rule. Of course, rules change quite frequently as the situation develops. I would encourage everyone to monitor the website to make sure the rules within the stadium, for the fans, are followed correctly,” he said.
The fans, however, will have no access to the players.
“I have been in those hotel lobbies over the years and seen those enthusiasms, and how close the fans want to get and the selfie opportunities. The players will be kept separate – they have to stay within the managed event environment, they won’t be mixing directly physically,” Marshall said, adding: “At this World Cup, I am afraid, there won’t be any arm around the shoulder, selfie opportunity with the players.”