A lot has been said about how Covid-19 has changed life as we knew it. Most people have struggled with dealing with the isolation factor more than anything else. When India locked down almost a year ago, people were behaving like caged monkies, yearning to break free. (Obviously one is referring to the large population that can afford a decent life in the country). Perhaps one should not stand in judgment of how people have responded to the virus, but one can compare Cricket teams and see how they have approached these ‘abnormal’ times.
As an Indian cricket follower and ardent pursuer of the game itself, it is indeed refreshing to see how the Indians have dealt with the ‘bubble’ life on tour. The IPL version 13 that was played in the UAE was the first exposure to Bubble life really. Covid Protocols were strict and even though families were allowed for most franchises, they were all within a biosecure bubble. None of the Indians complained. And Indian Captain Virat Kohli summed it up in a nutshell
“It’s not as tough when the group of guys is amazing, which we have. Everyone part of that bio-bubble is really nice, the vibe has been so good this season. That’s precisely why we’ve enjoyed playing together, just enjoyed our time in the bio-bubble as well, but it does get difficult at times because it is repetitive.”
Moving on the Indian team traveled to Australia for another long-drawn-out series. As a unit, not known to complain, they absorbed what was on offer and flowed with it. The hotels were nowhere near as plush as the ones you get in India. It was only when the Australian authorities wanted to tighten the screw on protocol rules more, the Indian management retaliated, and understandably so.
Fast forward to India v England. Bubble life again and even though India is at home, they must be in their bubbles. Most of the boys are not with wife and child, so they live together under the same roof, getting to know each other better perhaps. The thinker in the team, R Ashwin while reflecting on the time together with the team had this to say.
“It’s working well for the team as there is a better chance to bond with each other. Players are getting together more often than what it was ever in the past”
He also shared that he spends most of his free time reading books, watching online videos, and doing yoga for his mental fitness. And the palatial and top-class hotels in India make for easy living and he was making the most of it.
People say that one should never be judgemental about ‘mental health’. One does not attempt to judge, but it is apparent that the Indian cricketers are made of stronger wires. They don’t whinge as much as their English counterparts do about these Covid bubbled lifetimes.
The mentally strong, ‘Carpe Diem’ player in the Indian Squad Shikhar Dhawan, Gabbar to his fans, said it best when he described the bubble life as a challenge that one needs to embrace in a positive way.
“Nice to test our mental strength. More than challenging, I see it as an opportunity to improve in every aspect. I keep myself entertained; I take it in a positive way. It totally depends on how a person talks to himself; you can be your best friend or you can be a victim.”
It’s not easy, but that’s life. You face the challenges head-on. Whether you fall and rise, or just grumble after every knock is clearly all about the way you are wired. The Indians, just seem to be wired stronger.