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Sophie Ecclestone turned down WBBL contract over bubble fatigue concerns

World's No. 1-ranked T20I bowler rejected Scorchers offer to play in T20 Challenge instead

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Sophie Ecclestone celebrates a wicket  •  Getty Images

Sophie Ecclestone celebrates a wicket  •  Getty Images

Sophie Ecclestone, the England spinner and the No. 1 T20I bowler in the ICC's rankings, has revealed that she turned down a contract to play for Perth Scorchers in the Women's Big Bash League (WBBL).
While quarantining in the UAE ahead of the Women's T20 Challenge, Ecclestone told ESPNcricinfo in an interview to be published this week that she had been offered the chance to play in the WBBL for the first time earlier this year.
After initially telling the Scorchers she would be available, Ecclestone decided to pull out of the tournament after spending the summer in biosecure bubbles ahead of England's planned international fixtures.
"I was going to go to the Big Bash," she said. "Initially I said yes, but since the quarantine was two weeks and in a bubble I was like: no, I'm all right, I'll pass and try and do it next year. When this [the Women's T20 Challenge] came along with six days of quarantine and in Dubai, I thought I could cope with that.
"I was going at one point. I had to send them an email saying: I'm really sorry, but I don't think I can do it. Hopefully I can do it next year. I was meant to be going. I feel bad really, but hopefully they'll have me back at some point."
Six of Ecclestone's England team-mates are playing in the WBBL: Tammy Beaumont and Heather Knight both joined Syndey Thunder, Katherine Brunt and Nat Sciver were picked up by Melbourne Stars, and Amy Jones and Sarah Glenn are both at the Scorchers.
They had to quarantine in hotel rooms for 14 days before joining the tournament's Sydney hub, having had only three days at home after leaving Derby at the end of their T20I series against West Indies before flying out to Australia.
"We had the training camp at Derby, which was two or three weeks, then the bubble at Burleigh Court [Loughborough] and then Derby again which was a month and a bit, and I think the girls had a three-day turnaround before they flew to quarantine in Australia. I think that would have been too much."
Ecclestone's revelations come at a time when several players have questioned the long-term viability of bubbles. Last week, Eoin Morgan and Jason Holder both raised concerns about the prospect of players suffering from burnout after travelling from one biosecure environment to another, while Ellyse Perry echoed their points on Saturday.
"There's going to be various struggles for people at different points of time, for all different reasons," she told AAP. "I don't think it's a sustainable option. Obviously this is a unique season and year, but I think there is probably a limit on what we can put people through."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98