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Chennai Super King's player Suresh Raina (PTI)
Chennai Super King's player Suresh Raina (PTI)

IPL 2020: Teams focus on de-stressing players, mental well-being amid covid-19

  • Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB),has recruited sports psychologist Chaitanya Sridhar and specialist team-doctor Charles Minz who have been training the team in mindfulness since March

NEW DELHI : Amid the covid-19 outbreak, which has already infected Chennai Super Kings team members with Suresh Raina deciding to opt out of IPL 2020, players are under immense performance pressure. Consequently, team franchises have now resorted to various measures to de-stress players and promote mental well-being.

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB),has recruited sports psychologist Chaitanya Sridhar and specialist team-doctor Charles Minz who have been training the team in mindfulness since March.

"In an environment where fitness facilities have not been easily accessible, since the season announcement, RCB management has worked with the coaches to map the players based on fitness needs and divided them into groups. Each group has been training together virtually and following a world-class fitness regime guided and monitored by strength and conditioning coach, Shankar Basu from the convenience of their home," said Sanjeev Churiwala, chairman- Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Technology interventions are also helping teams to not only stay connected with each other but also track fitness and personal health of the players. RCB has ensured that all players in the bio-bubble have wearables and devices which can help contact tracing.

Rajasthan Royals has been leveraging advance fitness tracking system Catapult which provides athlete tracking data to prepare players for the demands of competition, support injury rehabilitation, and improve coach-athlete communication. Apart from using video calls for team meetings during lockdown and quarantine and offering curated menu to boost immunity, Rajasthan Royals has ensured each hotel room of the player has enough space for exercise apart from providing access to a private beach to maintain social distancing.

"Apart from providing bikes in each player's room so that they can exercise anytime, we will also have enough entertainment and team bonding sessions to keep players fit and engaged," said a Rajasthan Royal spokesperson.

The Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) has released a strict standard operating procedure (SOP) for teams including testing for covid-19 at three levels and an advance quarantine of Indian players before they take off for Dubai. The teams in Dubai have to undergo a six-day isolation and three covid-19 tests again before entering a bio-bubble. To secure the bubble further, teams have blocked wings and floors at their respective hotels. Facilities such as gym, team room, lift, and restaurant is being reserved for exclusive use of the team. All hotel staff and service members will also be tested and staying in-house. There will be one staff member outside the bio-bubble to coordinate anything from the outside world.

Players are already facing a certain level of anxiety and apprehension which has further increased due to covid-19 related precautions, said Puducherry based clinical psychologist Pulkit Sharma. Such restrictions and variety of precautions can induce fatigue and hopelessness.

“Cricket is a game of community where often players unwind together post matches therefore social distancing can also lead to loneliness. Motivational sessions can help till a certain limit hence players need to be aware about the reality looking at it realistically. I believe they can live in this new reality with a routine that ensures good physical and mental health by staying connected virtually," he added.

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