England assistant coach Paul Collingwood fears for the players' mental health in the long term in bio-secure bubbles. The former all-rounder, who has also spent a long time in a closed environment, said players' body language on the field reflects their fatigue.
The English team has been on the road since October 2021, starting with the T20 World Cup in the UAE. The Ashes series in Australia followed the multi-nation tournament. They are currently in the Caribbean for a five-match T20I series.
Collingwood, in charge of the team in the West Indies, is wary of the effects of bio-bubble down the line, as the isolation protocols take a toll on players.
"You can't even explain what it's like until you experience it. I just hope there are no ramifications moving forward because when they come, they won't be obvious next week or the week after. These are things that might come out down the line. That's what scares me," the T20 World Cup-winning captain said, as quoted by BBC Sport.
England's Test performances in 2021 left a lot to be desired. Although they started the year with a convincing series win in Sri Lanka, things went downhill from there. Joe Root and co. lost in India and at home to New Zealand, followed by a 4-0 Ashes defeat in Australia.
"We have obviously played the most amount of cricket" - Paul Collingwood
Paul Collingwood highlighted that the bio-bubble restrictions are so stringent that the players cannot even go out for coffee alone. The 45-year old believes too much cricket is unhealthy, and is likely to affect other teams as well, saying:
"The simple fact is you cannot walk out of your front door and, as soon as you're told that you cannot do something as simple as going for a coffee, and you are penned in with the same guys, it hits you."
"We saw the signs then when boys were fading, and it is not healthy for the game. This isn't just us. We have obviously played the most amount of cricket, but it will catch up with other teams as well."
Meanwhile, West Indies took a 2-1 lead after the third T20I of the five-match T20 contest. Rovman Powell's maiden T20 hundred catapulted his team to 224. In response, England fell short by 20 runs. Earlier, Romario Shepherd (44*) featured in a record 72-run ninth-wicket stand in the second game, but West Indies lost by a run.