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Pakistan Super League: Bubble life taking a toll on mental health, admits Andre Russell

Kolkata: Life inside the Bio Bubble during tours and competitions in the times of COVID-19 pandemic have taken a toll on his mental health, admitted Andre Russell, the giant West Indian allrounder. Russell, a much sought-after name in the world of T20 franchise leagues, is now in Abu Dhabi to play in the Pakistan Super League for Quetta Gladiators.

Over 200 players, support staff and other stakeholders of PSL are now in the UAE capital, where the remaining 20 matches of the PSL are set to get under way tentatively from June 9. The tournament had to be suspended in Pakistan in March due to a incidence of positive cases of the virus among players, following which the Pakistan Cricket Board approach the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) to shift rest of the matches in the UAE.

“I think it’s taking a toll on myself,” Russell said in an interview. “I can’t talk for any other player or coaches or anyone that goes through this whole quarantine stuff.

“But it’s definitely taken a toll on me mentally because from bubble to bubble, in a room locked in, you can’t go out for a walk, you can’t go certain places, you can’t socialise, it’s different.”

Russell said even though players were now somewhat used to staying in bubbles on tours, it was still challenging to experience it each time. “But at the end of the day, I’m not being ungrateful, I’m grateful that we’re still playing, we’re still doing our job,” he added. “So it’s tough for us.”

‘Dre-Russ,’ as he is knows as, had been a senior member of IPL franchise Kolkata Knight Riders and had been playing in India in a bio secure bubble before IPL was suspended on May 4 after players and staff on multiple teams contracted COVID-19.

He is expected to be back in the UAE in September, after playing in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), to play the remaining matches of IPL. The second phase of IPL will be held across all three venues: Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah tentatively from September 18-19.