India and New Zealand will lock horns in the final of the World Test Championship (WTC) at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton, beginning June 18. Before that, New Zealand will also play a two-match Test series against England, which has begun on Wednesday at Lord’s.
After the final, India will square off against England in August in a five-match Test series. Meanwhile, a team of white-ball specialists is also expected to tour Sri Lanka in July.
“Well, you never know, at the moment it is happening because of the current situation and the restrictions regarding travel. You never know, in the future, if you want to expand the game, especially the shorter formats of the game, then it could be the way to go. If you have that volume of cricketers, if you want to spread the T20 game across the globe, then it could be the way ahead. If you are talking of Olympics, then you need more teams to play the game,” said Shastri during a virtual press conference.
“You will see it during the Test series against England when you have to play five Tests in six weeks, it is no joke. Even the fittest will need a break. More than the physical part, it is the mental part. You can be destroyed mentally when you are being asked to do the same thing again and again. It is not easy to recover especially when you have a bad day. It is important to shuffle the guys around and keep them mentally fresh because of the circumstances prevailing,” he added.
Skipper Virat Kohli also addressed the issue of mental health and he said that it is important to give players a break so that they are okay to play in the toughest circumstances.
“With the current structure and the kind of structure we are competing inside, it is very difficult to stay motivated and find that mental space, being confined in one area and just doing the stuff day in and day out and dealing with pressure situations. This will definitely become a norm of the future, apart from the workload, the mental aspect will also come into the picture big time,” said Kohli.
“Because you do not have an outlet at all in today’s age. You are literally going to the ground and coming back to your room. You do not have space to disconnect from the game and step out for a walk. This is a huge factor that should not be neglected. As much hard work, we have done to create this team, you do not want players falling out because of not being able to have that capacity. You have to keep the channel open, we have done that and players can say that they need a break if they are not feeling okay,” he added.
After the final of WTC, the Indian Test team will get a break for more than a month before the five-match series against England. Both Kohli and Shastri welcomed the move as it will give the players some time to freshen themselves up.
“I feel like after you are done with WTC, I think it is a great opportunity to refresh and restructure, hopefully, if things are okay, just for the guys to be normal and disconnect again, to understand that we have the pressure of a five-match series. Like in Australia, if we had to contest in a bubble for that long period, it would have been tough,” said Kohli.
“Just the fact that we had the freedom to go out and access the kind of things there, it gave us space to refresh and reset. I think it is absolutely fine, it will give us time to refresh and prepare for a long series. That kind of setup is important before you go to a lengthy series. The challenge in England can be daunting, so we want to have the time before that series,” he added.
The Indian Men’s team will arrive in the UK on June 3, 2021, via a charter flight with negative PCR Test,” ICC said in an official release. Prior to travelling, the party will have spent 14 days in a bio-secure environment in India during which regular testing will have taken place.
Upon landing, they will proceed directly to the on-site hotel at the Hampshire Bowl where they will be tested again before commencing a period of managed isolation. Regular tests will be conducted during the period of isolation. Players’ activity will be allowed in a gradually increasing manner after each round of negative testing, moving from exercise in isolation to small group and then larger squad activity, whilst always remaining within the bio-secure venue.