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Sports News

Tour length should take 'bubble' toll into account: Kohli

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - New Zealand v India - First Test - Basin Reserve, Wellington, New Zealand - February 24, 2020 India's Virat Kohli after New Zealand beat India in the First Test REUTERS/Martin Hunter

(Reuters) - The mental toll that comes with spending long periods in bio-secure bubbles should be taken into account when the length of cricket tours are being decided, India captain Virat Kohli said on Friday.

Playing within bubbles has become the new normal for teams since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the game in March.

Kohli has spent the last two-and-half months in a bubble in the United Arab Emirates, leading Royal Challengers Bangalore’s (RCB) bid for their first Indian Premier League (IPL) title.

Immediately after the conclusion of the IPL, Kohli will enter another bio-bubble in Australia where India play six short-form internationals followed by four tests.

“These things will have to be considered,” Kohli told RCB TV ahead of their eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad in Abu Dhabi later on Friday.

“Like, what length of the tournament or series one is going to play, and what impact it will have on players mentally, to stay in a similar environment for 80 days and not getting to do anything different.”

Kohli said he and his Bangalore team mates enjoyed the time together in the bubble but conceded that repetitiveness was an issue.

“These things have to be seriously thought about,” said Kohli, who celebrated his 32nd birthday on Thursday inside the bubble.

“At the end of the day, you want the players to be in the best state mentally and physically. Mentally it can be taxing if this continues for this long a period.”

Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Peter Rutherford

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