Steve Smith has ruled himself out of competing in the Big Bash League amid concerns over burnout in biosecure bubbles.
The Rajasthan Royals skipper has been in successive squad bubbles since Australia visited England in September and now while playing in IPL 2020.
The toll of that means he won’t be available to help Sydney Sixers attempt to defend their title in BBL 2020/21.
“I'll be honest with you – absolutely no chance,” said Smith when asked about his participation by News Corp.
“It's still early days with the bubbles. We don't know how long it's going to last for. There's an uncertainty there. It's just going to be about having open conversations with coaches, general managers, whoever, to ensure that people are keeping their head space in a reasonable place.”
“Then there's obviously going to be questions around selection. If someone takes some time off because they've been in the bubble for a long time and then someone comes in and plays well, do they take their spot?
“When guys are starting to find things a bit tough mentally from just living in the bubble, being able to get out – even if it might just be a few days of being normal might be a real help. Those conversations need to be had.”
Others Could Follow Suit
While the BBL begins on December 3, Australia are due to play their series with India before that.
That starts on November 27 and means even more time away from family and friends for Australia’s top stars.
It means the like of David Warner, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins could also follow Smith in ruling themselves out of either the India series or the BBL.
Rajasthan Royals coach Andrew McDonald has highlighted similar concerns for players.
“The big fear is the sustainability of it all, also the burnout factor,” he said.
“The mental demands on the players have just gone up in terms of what they're dealing with. Any time you lose autonomy as a human being, which is pretty much what bubble life is – it shrinks down your options.
“I think that can create some real fatigue which can also transition into that physical aspect as well.
“People judge what's happened on wins and losses and I don't think it's about that. It's about how we get players through in a healthy state around their welfare.”