Rajasthan Royals captain Steven Smith has completely ruled himself of Big Bash League (BBL) this year. Smith who was expected to turn out for Sydney Sixers for few matches, has categorically ruled himself out of BBL 2020 over growing concerns of players’ burnout inside prolonged bio-secure bubbles.
Unlike the 2019-20 season, where Smith joined the SIxers to take them to victory, the former Australian captain In an interview with News Corp as part of a promotional campaign with Lifebouy for the Rajasthan Royals, Smith from his Dubai bubble clearly said he will not play in BBL this year.
“I’ll be honest with you – absolutely no chance.”
“It’s still early days with the bubbles. We don’t know how long it’s going to last for. There’s an uncertainty there. It’s just going to be about having open conversations with coaches, general managers, whoever, to ensure that people are keeping their head space in a reasonable place.”
“Then there’s obviously going to be questions around selection. If someone takes some time off because they’ve been in the bubble for a long time and then someone comes in and plays well, do they take their spot?
“When guys are starting to find things a bit tough mentally from just living in the bubble, being able to get out – even if it might just be a few days of being normal might be a real help. Those conversations need to be had.”
At this stage, it seems quite likely that a lot of the other Australian players who’ll be part of all three formats, are set to follow suit and give the BBL, starting on December 3, a skip. His Rajasthan Royals coach, Andrew McDonald, echoed similar sentiments, cautioning the authorities of the mental toll the life in a bubble takes on the players.
“The big fear is the sustainability of it all, also the burnout factor,” he said.
“The mental demands on the players have just gone up in terms of what they’re dealing with. Any time you lose autonomy as a human being, which is pretty much what bubble life is – it shrinks down your options. I think that can create some real fatigue which can also transition into that physical aspect as well.
“People judge what’s happened on wins and losses and I don’t think it’s about that. It’s about how we get players through in a healthy state around their welfare.”
The IPL in the UAE is Smith’s second back-to-back bubble experience, flying straight from England during Australia’s limited-overs series. Given that the home series against India starts on November 27, barely 14 days after reaching Australia, which includes a strict quarantining period as well, it is going to be a massive task for the players.
Smith’s IPL team Royals is slated to play KXIP today in a crunch match which is likely to decided whether RR make it to playoffs or not.
BBL 2020 : Earlier AB De Villiers pulled out from BBL citing birth of his child
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) AB de Villiers has pulled out of the upcoming season of Big Bash League (BBL) as the player and his wife are expecting the birth of their third child.
“The Heat were great to us last season and I am very open to returning to the club in the future. The team did not get the results we were hoping for and I consider there is some unfinished business to deal with,” de Villiers said in a post shared by the franchise, Brisbane Heat, on Twitter.
“We are expecting our latest child very soon and with a young, growing family and the uncertainty around travel and conditions due to COVID-19, we reluctantly decided it was not going to be this season,” he added.