After England all-rounder Ben Stokes took an indefinite break from cricket, Michael Vaughan has said it is a wake-up call for other players who are facing tough times in COVID-19 bubbles. Vaughan also expressed concern about the participation of families of England players in Ashes.
On Friday, England and Wales Cricket (ECB) announced that Stokes will prioritise his mental wellbeing and as a measure, the all-rounder will take an indefinite break from all cricket with an immediate effect. Former England captain Michael Vaughan alerted the cricket world to look at England all-rounder Ben Stokes’ immediate break from the game as a wake-up call for everyone, especially in the current day and age of international cricket.
Stokes has been England’s match-winner on several occasions, bailing out the team from the toughest situation with the likes of the 2019 World Cup final followed by the Ashes Test in Headingley. Vaughan said when a top-class player like Stokes can suffer from mental problems, it is a wake-up call for other players as well, to keenly look after their mental health.
"When you see someone like Ben, who we know is mentally tough and has the ability he has to produce under the utmost pressure on the cricketing stage, it's a wake-up call for us all. If Ben is struggling then potentially many others will be too," Vaughan told BBC Radio 5 Live.
Over the last year, cricket matches have been conducted in bio-secure bubbles, where a player's movement is restricted only between stadiums and hotel rooms. Vaughan feels that players were never trained to live under these uncertain situations, creating different challenges on the player’s mind.
"We have to study the last 18 months and realise that these cricketers are being put in circumstances which they are not trained for, like being locked away continuously in a bubble," Vaughan said.
"The Test team go back into a bubble today for the first two Tests against India, where they'll be restricted again to a hotel and a cricket ground, and not be able to go out and do normal things. There will be many out there thinking they're cricketers and that's what they're paid to do, but it's such a time-consuming sport where your mind is being challenged all the time,” he added.
England cricket team is scheduled to tour Australia in December later this year to play the historic Ashes. Australia has one of the strictest lockdown policies and many are considering that England players might pull out from the series in case their family members are barred from travelling with them. Vaughan is concerned about the families of the players, who will have to quarantine if permitted, which looks complicated to the cricketer turned commentator.
"If you're arriving in Australia and half your team aren't going to be there. I think we have to be reasonable in continuing to ask them to go back into bio-bubbles. Young families and mothers, are they geared to go to and quarantine in Australia in a hotel room for two weeks with young kids? I don't know who's made up for that,” Vaughan mentioned.