• October 23, 2021

T20 World Cup 2021: ICC to provide twenty-four hour assistance for mental health issues

New Delhi: The ICC will have psychologists on board to counsel players on mental health issues during their stay in bio-secure environment for the upcoming T20 Word Cup in Oman and UAE, senior official Alex Marshall said on Thursday.

Marshall, the head of ICC’s Integrity Unit and also in charge of overseeing a foolproof bio-secure environment, said that the respective team managements are expected to deal with potential “bio-bubble breaches”, while advising strict adherence to the rules during the showpiece which begins from 17 October.

Some people, we have to accept that their mental health will be affected in controlled environment. The ICC will make available 24 hours a day, a psychologist to speak to any individual who seeks help,” Marshall said during a virtual media interaction.

“We are also providing lot of resources for people to address the issue and within their own team and squads they bring their own medical staff, have own systems in place to take care of players.

“…but from ICC’s perspective they have got lots of resources, very good resources and used in other sports, proven to work well, as professional support 24×7 a day for somebody who seeks it.”

He said the ICC acknowledges the fact that some players have seen too many bubbles and may be feeling the strain.

“There are number of things that we are doing, making materials available and offering psychological support,” he said.

Marshall said he expects all the teams to be responsible and not break the sanctity of the bio-bubble but if such an incident occurs, the team managements will have to act so that everyone adheres to the rules.

“If people stick to rules and maintain discipline, we shouldn’t have any problem. We would expect the management of any team, if they find any person not adhering to rules, to take that very seriously. We dont think there will be any breaches,” he said.

However, he dropped hints that the ICC won’t have a say on whether a potential bubble breach can lead to eviction or not as it has been left to the teams.

“If there is a breach that is a matter of the management of that particular team to treat that seriously. That’s as far as I can go at the moment.”

The ICC will be allowing the close family (wive, children and partner) of the players to be with them in the protected environment so that they remain in a happy space.

“Close families can be important factor in reducing stress and making it an enjoyable environment for players. We have allowed small number of close families, family members have to go through phase of isolation and make sure they are negative, they have to stay in managed environment,” he informed.

For the players, they can move around as long as they remain in a managed environment. There would be recreational activities, including a marked area to play golf and also city tours if they wish to avail them.

With a bio-bubble in place, the players won’t be able to mingle with fans.
“No selfie with fans,” Marshall quipped.

For all the teams entering the UAE, there will be six days of quarantine after which they enter the managed environment.

“We also expect a few positive cases to emerge and there will be 10 days of isolation for the particular individual. Anyone who is deemed close contact to the person and has been around the COVID-positive individual for more than 15 minutes without mask will have to isolate for six days.”

However, Marshall didn’t give any clear answer when asked what happens if a player in a particular team is found positive on match day and the opposition team refuses to take the field.

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