After her stint in the Women’s Big Bash League, England international Amy Jones has spoken about her time in Australia and the COVID-secure bubble whilst playing for the Perth Scorchers.
Jones became accustomed to quarantine and openly admits this is not an experience she would like to become a regular part of playing cricket.
Regardless of an injury ruling her out for the first half of the tournamnet, Jones does still speak highly of the opportunity to play cricket in turbulent times.
‘’This was my third year playing for Perth Scorchers, which has always been amazing, and knowing all the girls and coaches is a massive bonus for me in a familiar environment,” Jones told The Inner Sanctum this week.
“I was really looking forward to going over. Unfortunately, I then got injured after playing in the second game of the tournament and missed seven games but came back for the semi-final, which didn’t go our way on the night, but it was still a great experience.’’
There is no doubt that proceedings this year were slightly different in the WBBL, with all the teams and background staff located in one hub in Sydney, and the tournament being condensed, with 59 matches in a 34-day period.
Jones is no stranger to being thrown into a bubble, being part of the select England squad chosen to train in Loughborough, but the challenge doesn’t ease she mentions.
‘’Coming over from England was difficult with quarantining before the start of the tournament, which was definably a challenge, but then the biggest challenge for me was getting away from cricket in the hub,’’ She said.
‘’The whole thing was put on brilliantly by Cricket Australia, but I struggled to get away from the game, have some downtime especially being on the sides with injury and the full-on schedule.
“I think it was quite hard to be surrounded by all the cricketers, and it did become a bit draining as well, it was great to see everyone but having to be sociable all day every day takes its toll on you and having to keep focused on cricket but also take some time away became hard.’’
Concerns around hubs and bio-secure bubbles remain one of the biggest talking points around the game. Recently, two of England’s men internationals who were due to play again in the Big Bash, Tom Banton, and Tom Curran both withdrew from the tournament before it started citing hub fatigue and needing a break.
England Cricket has recently reverted to a rest and rotation policy, not selecting a number of first-choice players on the recent tour of Sri Lanka and sending some players home for the first two Tests of the upcoming India series to rest and rotate thier players.
It highlights an important issue. Even though it is amazing to see cricket continue to find its way through a global pandemic and continue to be played, it does come at a cost sometimes, and ultimately player’s health and well-being are paramount.
Jones is now within another bubble, as England Women prepare to take on New Zealand in a three ODI and T20i series over in New Zealand, commencing February 23rd.
Jones said that she “just can’t wait to get on the pitch for England again, wherever our next tour may be, we are raring to go after making great strides on and off the pitch this summer.”
COVID cricket is something very different, presenting numerous challenges as Amy Jones alludes to, although it is without question that cricket remains her priority and she is grateful for the chance to play the sport.