IPL 2020: Lisa Sthalekar warns of mental health problems from long spells in bio-secure bubbles

Former Australia all-rounder spent four and a half weeks commentating in the UAE and said isolation took its toll

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - Reporter: Paul Radley. Sport. Cricket. Lisa Sthalekar. Girls trials for Rajasthan Royals cricket academy. Wednesday, October 14th, 2020. The Sevens, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National
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Lisa Sthalekar said players will not be the only ones whose mental health could suffer from living in bio-secure bubbles for long periods of time.

The former Australia all-rounder is due to return home from the UAE on Thursday after four and a half weeks as an IPL commentator.

She was grateful to be on duty for the competition, but said the time spent sealed off from normal life had taken its toll.

“Sanity has to prevail at the end, and there is only so much you can ask people to do and forego for the competition,” Sthalekar said. “I was grateful, like I’m sure everyone is, that the IPL was back on everyone’s agenda.

“The bio-bubble is tough, really tough, and I have real concerns for the players going from one bio-bubble to the next.

“I think it is going to test everybody’s mental health. I hope everyone puts things in place to ensure [their well-being].

“Also the crew. People forget that there are 100 people who help televise one game on that ground. They are living in bubbles themselves, and the ground staff are.

“Everybody has gone to great lengths to get this IPL on, and we are all very grateful of it.

"Let’s hope we can find a vaccine and get back to normal life.”

Sthalekar spent the majority of her time in the UAE as part of the commentary team in Abu Dhabi for the IPL.

She spent the past three days coaching at the new Rajasthan Royals Academy in Dubai, in her role as the franchise's youth development consultant.

She is now heading back to commentate on the Women’s Big Bash League in Australia, and she said she saw talented players she would be happy to take with her.

“There is a couple of really good players I would like to scoop up and take back with me," she said. “There are four or five who have some real skill.


Shane Warne leads coaching clinic at Rajasthan Royals Dubai Academy


“I was speaking to one of the players and she was saying, ‘This camp was like nothing we have ever had before’.

“They probably have heard it before, but maybe from the same coaches.

"So every now and then, having an influx of a different voice or opinion can have an impact.

“I’m really glad they have got a lot out of it.”

Shane Warne, Rajasthan Royals' ambassador, was also present at the franchise's new academy, and he was impressed by the facilities on show at The Sevens, Dubai.

“To see how much it has grown, the state of it is first class,” Warne said.

“It is a bit different to how everything was 30 years ago in the late ’80s, when I first started out, how everything has progressed.”

Rajasthan Royals Academy will have a free open session from noon to 2pm on Saturday, October 17 at The Sevens.