Hope we don't have to play in bubbles for too much longer: Southee

In less than 72 hours after playing the T20 World Cup final against Australia in Dubai, New Zealand play India in a three-match bilateral series in a space of five days

New Zealand’s stand-in captain Tim Southee feels long periods in bubble life does take a toll on the cricketers’ physical and mental health and hopes that they don’t have to play in protected environments for far too long.

In less than 72 hours of playing the T20 World Cup final against Australia in Dubai, New Zealand play India in a three-match bilateral series in a space of five days.

Southee, who has been in bubbles since the IPL resumed in September, said the scheduling in COVID times is beyond their control but it does impact the players.

"With what’s happened in the world in the last last couple of years (COVID), it had made things a lot tougher with bubbles and quarantine and it does take its toll after a while," said Southee, who will also stay back for the two-Test series against India though his new ball partner Trent Boult will head back after the T20s.

"We don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. Whether we’re gonna have to continue to play in bubbles and I guess you are put under more pressure with the quarantine time thrown as well." Skipper Kane Williamson has been given much needed rest for T20s ahead of the Test series in India.

Leading players including Virat Kohli have spoken about how bubble life is not sustainable in the long run.

After New Zealand’s loss to Australia in the World Cup final in Dubai on Sunday, head coach Gary Stead spoke about the unusual scheduling scenario his team finds itself in. The squad’s chartered flight landed here on Monday evening.

Southee understands that some of the things are beyond control.

"So it’s something we can’t control, something we just have to, I guess adapt to and get used to but it does take its toll. I know a few players that have been in a number of bubbles for long periods of time. Hopefully, we don’t have to deal with bubbles for too much longer," wished Southee.

The pacer said the workload of players will be managed throughout the series.

"Yes, it is something we’re going to have to look at throughout the series, three games and in five days, with travel days in between and then a couple of days and then we’re into the Test series.

"The guys will be managed throughout the series, but we’ve got a squad of 15 here that were involved in the World Cup which I’m sure will be used throughout the series," said Southee.

Talking about conditions being similar to the UAE, Southee said the team is looking forward to playing in India as it is always a special experience.

"Guys are disappointed (after the loss to Australia). We played some pretty good cricket throughout the tournament and was disappointing not to be able to have won the other night but we’re going to shift their focus to this series.

"It is a new challenge of playing in India and the conditions will be similar but I’m sure we will need to adapt slightly."

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