(Reuters) – Anyone who criticizes England’s hotly debated rotation policy hasn’t spent time in a bio-secure bubble to understand the toll its strict COVID-19 protocols are weighing on players’ mental health, said Tuesday fast pitcher Jofra Archer.
England are set to play 17 tests this year outside of the Twenty20 World Cup and other limited internationals and while their workload in a busy year is cause for concern, players have been urged to come forward if the mental tension is too great.
England rested Archer and versatile Ben Stokes for the Sri Lanka series and both return for the India series of four tests which begins in Chennai on Friday while Jonny Bairstow, Sam Curran and Mark Wood are rested for the first two tests.
“It’s going to be a very long year. There are a few series to come and body management will be important,” Archer told reporters.
“Anyone who criticizes (player rotation) has never been in a bubble. Ultimately, humans are social people, especially when you aren’t playing a good game. There is no escape, nowhere to go.
“The ECB has been great making it a priority so you can come back fresh and ready to go. I know I’ll take my time and focus on the job at hand. If it gets bossy, there is have no shame in that, but now I’m good to go. “
All four tests take place in bubbles in Chennai and Ahmedabad and while fans may be allowed to attend, Archer said he was not keeping his hopes up after playing in empty venues in the middle of the pandemic.
“If that happens, I’ll believe it when I see it,” he said. “The past eight months have been crazy.
“They made promises that never came to fruition, so I’ll believe it when the fans walk through the doors.”