Jonny Bairstow says the travel and quarantine involved in playing cricket during a pandemic is “mentally taxing” but stressed players need breaks at home to avoid “exhaustion” during a packed calendar. Bairstow has rejoined the England squad after being rested for the first two Tests of the India series, with his journey from home to the subcontinent, alongside fellow returnee Mark Wood, a lengthy one.
“It is tricky with logistics – the quarantine periods are especially tricky,” Bairstow said. “You have been quarantined at home effectively as you don’t want to contract the virus for loved ones but also because if you contract it you can’t then board a plane to rejoin the tour.”
“You are then on a plane with people you have never met and then when you get to the airport and are greeted by a lot of loving India fans, it can be tricky to make sure you are doing everything you can in your remit to make sure you don’t get the virus,” he added. “You are then quarantined in your room hoping you haven’t caught anything on the journey or you will be in your room for another 14 days. It is quite mentally taxing.”
“You don’t want to be leaving, that’s the nature of sport. You want to be playing. But if you are physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted, then you may get injured or lose form.” he continued. “At some point, people are going to have to have a break otherwise you are going to have people – in however many months, in however many years – being mentally and physically exhausted.”