Cricketers must build mental toughness in these testing times: Expert

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Friday onwards, the pulse rate of some cricket lovers will be dictated by the players as they go about their business in the IPL for the next two months. However, behind the scenes, it’s a challenge to maintain the high standards of playing in a bio bubble due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell described being confined to the bio bubble as a “nightmare” and stressed on the “difficult lifestyle” of cricketers. BCCI president and former India captain Sourav Ganguly on Tuesday felt training mentally is the only way out to succeed in a bio bubble before stating that Indian cricketers are more “tolerant” than England, Australians and West Indians.
Dr Anand Chulani, who has worked with Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals as their mental conditioning coach, felt one cannot generalise cricketers in judging their mental fitness. “I don’t think you can generalise them. It’s case-to-case. There are Indian cricketers, who are very tough and there are English or Australian cricketers, who are equally tough mentally. We can’t complain about it, we just have to build our mental toughness to play in these testing times,” Chulani told mid-day on Wednesday. 
“There are different types of freedoms—mental and emotional. Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi were locked up in a prison for many years. They had less physical freedom but mentally they were free. When they were out of the prison, they were ready to make an impact,” added Chulani.
Most of the Indian cricketers have been in a bio bubble for five months starting from September (IPL in UAE) to the Australian tour (January 15). A week later, the players went into hard quarantine before the England series at home in February. At the conclusion of the ODI series against England on March 28, some Indian players directly entered their respective IPL team bubbles.
He felt bio bubble is the best time to get better mentally as there are no distractions. “If you are stressed all the time, you will be distracted even if you are on a beach. With the bio bubble, the distractions like parties and socialising have gone. So, it is time to be mentally and emotionally more fit. If you are mentally fit, you will thrive in times like these,” said Chulani.

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