South Africa captain Quinton de Kock recently opened up on the challenges of playing cricket while staying in bio-secure bubbles, describing the experience as “unsettling”. The Proteas capped off a 2-0 whitewash over Sri Lanka in Johannesburg on Tuesday (January 5).
After spending more than two months in bio-bubbles in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for IPL 2020, the South African players haven’t gotten a chance to see the outside world owing to their home limited-overs series against England, which started on November 27.
Quinton de Kock has been one of them, confined to stringent protocols and mandatory quarantine periods since the start of September last year.
The southpaw admitted that self-isolation periods make tours seem longer, admitting that a lot of unnecessary things affect the mind while living in a bubble. He said:
“There is a lot of nerves that goes around when it comes to the bubble – lots of small things get into your mind; things that you’re not used to in life. One day we could be living kind of normally and the next you’re in lockdown. Where do we go from there? We’re stuck in a bubble, and we could be stuck in a lockdown in some place for a certain period of time, which is the worst case scenario."
Quinton de Kock elaborated:
“But as a normal person, that’s the way you think about things. Bubbles just make tours longer because of the quarantine period. You stay in your room for a certain amount of time. You get out when we are declared safe. It’s very unsettling. I don’t know how long it can last. But for now, you try and deal with it in the best way possible.”
Both South Africa and Sri Lanka are staying at the Irene Country Club, a large estate near Pretoria with plenty of outdoor space.
Players like Faf du Plessis and Quinton de Kock had their immediate family alongside them, but the situation was “not ideal” according to the skipper.
De Kock, who scored 28 runs in two outings versus the Lankans, said:
“We are probably only going to be home for two weeks in the next three months, which is quite a challenge. Even though we’re in South Africa, we’re still in a bubble. It’s not ideal but it is what it is.”
‘The lockdown is going to be the hardest challenge,’ says Quinton de Kock
A historic tour looms as the Proteas will be travelling to Pakistan on January 15 for the first time since 2007. The Quinton de Kock-led side is scheduled to play two Tests and three T20Is starting January 26.
A tour to Pakistan means the visitors would be under extremely tight security. They will also have to undergo the mandatory quarantine period upon arrival.
Quinton de Kock revealed that he is going through mixed emotions about the red-letter series. He said:
“There’s two sides to it. I’m excited to get there and play cricket. It’s a new challenge. But the rest of it, the off-the-field stuff, is another sort of challenge. The lockdown is going to be the hardest challenge that we’re going to have on our plates out there.”
South Africa are currently fifth in the World Test Championship (WTC) table, one place above Pakistan.
Published 06 Jan 2021, 11:38 IST