Jos Buttler worried about bubble burnout during South Africa tour

England vice-captain urges players to talk about any mental health concerns

RICKMANSWORTH, ENGLAND - JUNE 23: Jos Buttler of England takes a catch during an England Nets session at Merchant Taylor's School on June 23, 2019 in Rickmansworth, England.  (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

England vice-captain Jos Buttler has urged his players to open up about potential bubble burnout during the tour of South Africa.

England players have been living in bio-secure bubbles since cricket returned in July after the Covid-19 hiatus, with strict rules enforced to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

England's players have spent the most time in bubbles, starting with four series at home while many also participated in the two-months-long Indian Premier League in the UAE.

"I found it was tougher to escape staying at hotels on the grounds in England," Buttler said. "They were high-pressure matches and when you've put a lot into the game, it's nice to get away.

"We won't get to fully enjoy South Africa but everyone has become accustomed to what it's going to be like. But if you're feeling under pressure or not quite yourself, the key is to have the confidence to open up and talk about it.

"We all go through it at different stages where you feel a bit homesick or claustrophobic ... We just want to make sure everyone in the squad is aware of that. The ECB is excellent at looking after the players' mental wellbeing."

England's limited overs captain Eoin Morgan had said last month that players can withdraw from tours if they feel playing in bio-secure bubbles amid the pandemic will take a toll on their mental health.

England will play six limited-overs matches – three Twenty20 games followed by three one-day internationals – in South Africa between November 27 and December 9.

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