Aakash Chopra has expressed concern over the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) imposing softer biosecurity bubbles, fearing that it could jeopardize the India series. Despite a steady rise in the Covid cases in the UK, the ECB confirmed that the India Tests will not oversee strict bubbles.
Cricketer-turned-commentator Aakash Chopra expressed his concern over the ECB’s decision to not impose stringent bubble measures for the upcoming five-Test series against India.
The ECB, in 2020, were the first board to restart international cricket through the implementation of strict bio-bubbles, but one year on, a lot has changed. A combination of rolling of vaccines, better understanding of Covid and player burnout due to bubble fatigue has forced the board to ease restrictions, and the summer of 2021 has seen the ECB operate with lenient bubbles.
However, with cases rising in the UK, Aakash Chopra has raised concerns over the prospect of ‘soft bubbles’. The ECB, last week, confirmed that they won’t revert back to harsh bubbles, and Chopra believes softer restrictions could spell trouble for the India series.
“They are saying it will be a softer bubble, which means it is not that strict and if it is not strict, the virus does not take a long time to enter. I am now slightly concerned about what is going to happen,” Chopra said on his YouTube channel.
Ahead of the ODI series against Pakistan, seven members from the England camp tested positive, and it forced the board to isolate the entire unit and list a second-string side led by Ben Stokes. Recently, Indian wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant and the visitors’ throwdown specialist Dayanand Garani also contracted the virus in England. While claiming that he understood ECB’s decision to ease restrictions, in order to keep players mentally sane, Chopra feared that an outbreak could jeopardize the five-Test series.
“It seems the right thing to hear that there are lengthy bio-bubbles, obviously, there is fatigue and it takes a toll but what does it mean for the series? You saw just now that you had cases in the series against Pakistan and you fielded a new team that also won. But God forbid something like this happens in the Test matches,” Chopra expressed his concerns.
“You have opened the entire country, you could be the super spreader, you are the one who is actually going to be spreading it to the world. You are allowing the full crowd to the matches, it’s not behind closed doors anymore,” he added.
The five-Test series will commence on August 4th in Nottingham.