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The world has completely changed for athletes: Ebony Rainford-Brent

The 37-year-old cricket commentator believes that the cancellation of fifth Test at Manchester between England and India was a sign of things to come in future

SNS | London |

Former England cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent said that the world has completely changed for cricketers, especially with Covid-19 pandemic coming into picture. She also said that apart from mental health, there have been too many injuries to England cricketers in their cricketing summer.

“The world has completely changed for athletes, and now a player like Jos Buttler, who has a young family and will want to have some semblance of balance in his life as well as protecting his mental wellbeing, could conceivably refuse to take part in some of the most high-profile, historic and prestigious Test series in the sport. And when big-name players start deciding to sit out whole series it will have big ramifications,” wrote Ebony in The Guardian on Monday.

“Players are starting to speak up about the impact on them as athletes and as people. Ben Stokes has stepped away from the game to focus on his mental health, setting an example that others may follow. There have been an unusual number of physical injuries – of bowlers who were or would have been in contention for a place in England’s Test team. Jofra Archer, Olly Stone, Stuart Broad, Mark Wood, Chris Woakes and Saqib Mahmood all missed some or all of the summer,” added Ebony.

“The growth of franchise cricket and the success of the IPL has brought a massive rise in player power. Add to that a pandemic that forced new demands on top players, particularly those who perform across all three formats, and it was only a matter of time before they started deciding that some of the things that were being asked of them were unreasonable.”

The 37-year-old cricket commentator believes that the cancellation of fifth Test at Manchester between England and India was a sign of things to come in future. “For England, there are some easy answers and some harder ones. In terms of cricket it has been a solid few months, with success in the short-form game balancing out some disappointment in the Tests. But the way the men’s international summer ended, with the abandonment of the fifth Test of a superb series against India, demonstrated a sport in the middle of a transformation.”

“India’s players clearly had the IPL on their minds when they decided not to play at Old Trafford, but they would also have been worried about testing positive midway through a Test and then being forced to self-isolate in England before leaving to join their next bubble, and perhaps losing a first chance in months to catch up with their families.”

“The cancellation of the fifth Test against India might end up costing Lancashire and the ECB millions in lost broadcast revenue, ticket, food and merchandise sales, and there could be more hits to come. If there’s no guarantee that the best players will be involved in the Ashes, for example, that will very quickly be reflected in the fees being offered by broadcasters. A relatively small group of players can’t just keep playing indefinitely,” concluded Ebony.