Southee admits bubble fatigue taking its toll: 'It weighs you down after a while'

Ahead of the T20I series in India, New Zealand stand-in captain opened up on the effects of packed scheduling and quarantine protocols

Vishal Dikshit
Vishal Dikshit
New Zealand have barely had the time to process their loss to Australia in the T20 World Cup final in Dubai on Sunday night, and yet, less than 24 hours later, they arrived in Jaipur for a tour of three T20Is and two Tests. The T20I leg of the series will start less than 72 hours after their defeat in the world tournament's final.
New Zealand's stand-in T20I captain Tim Southee, in the absence of Kane Williamson who opted out of the T20Is, said the packed scheduling, quarantine and bubble life do take a "toll" and make "things a lot tougher" for the players but it's something they "just have to adapt to and get used to" as they can't control it. He hopes they don't have to play in biosecure environments for too much longer.
"It's obviously a pretty busy schedule, we knew this was going to be the case even leading into the T20 World Cup, we had a series in Bangladesh and Pakistan," Southee said while interacting with the media online from Jaipur on Tuesday. "[Some of] the guys were at the IPL so something over last couple of years have made scheduling a lot tougher. Sides have to do quarantine and what not, it's been a bit of a challenge but as players you just have to crack on and play what's in front of you.
"With what's happened in the world in the last couple of years, it's made things a lot tougher with bubbles, quarantine, and it does take its toll. After a while we don't know what's going to happen in the future, whether we're going to have to continue to play in bubbles and schedules having more pressure on with quarantine time thrown in as well. It's something we can't control and something we just have to adapt to and get used to but it does take its toll. A few players have been in a number of bubbles for long periods of time so it does weigh you down after a while. So, hopefully, we don't have to deal with bubbles for too much longer.
"It's busy and we haven't really had a chance to stop and think after the disappointment in the way things finished there (in Dubai) but we have to shift our focus to this series and then obviously for the Test series. To represent your country is a great honour so that's gets me up and going."
In the lead up to their T20 World Cup campaign that started on October 18, New Zealand toured Bangladesh for five T20Is in September and then Pakistan for an original tour of three ODIs and five T20Is, which they eventually pulled out of. Now, they play three T20Is in India within five days and two more Tests before they head back to New Zealand for their home summer.
Southee said New Zealand could be looking at rotating their T20I squad in India, which was the same group of 15 that played in the World Cup in the UAE.
"It's something we have to look at throughout this series of three games in five days, with travel days in between and then a couple of days and then go into a Test series," Southee said. "The guys have to be managed throughout the series and we've got a squad of 15 here that were involved in the T20 World Cup which I'm sure we'll use throughout the T20 series."

Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo