South African Players Give A Sneak Peek Into Their Bio-bubble Life In The UAE

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South African Players Give A Sneak Peek Into Their Bio-bubble Life In The UAE

In a recent conversation with Betway, the South African cricketers, Temba Bavuma, Rassie van der Dussen, and Keshav Maharaj gave a tour of their camp for the T20 World Cup 2021 in the UAE. They also discussed the growth Proteas have shown in the last year or so. Click here

Most of the players are staying inside the bubble with their close ones, but they don’t have much to do during the downtime. Talking about the TV series he is watching with his wife in the bubble,  Rassie van der Dussen said, “I’m sure in the next few days I’ll put some time into thinking about it.” 

Describing the facilities in the bio-secure environment in an Abu Dhabi hotel along with his wife Lara, Van Der Dussen said, “We’re very well looked after. We do spend a lot of time in the room, but we have a big TV and a lovely living space. I’ve got lots of fitness toys to play with and there are facilities in the hotel.”

As described by the players, they have got the gym area on the bottom floor of the hotel along with the team room and medical area. Another Proteas player, spinner Keshav Maharaj doesn’t consider the makeshift setup as ‘not ideal’, but he is leaving no stone unturned in making the best of this unusual preparation.

Maharaj described, “There are a lot of differences so I work hard to make myself feel as at home as possible. I am a very clean and tidy person. There’s nothing worse than an untidy room and scruffy sheets. It drives me mad. I spend time making myself more comfortable by keeping my room in check.”

However, it can’t be denied that an entirely isolated existence can’t be termed healthy. The squad has been instructed to stay in the dining area in the hotel room in which they eat, drink coffee, and watch sport together. On Saturday, October 2, the players gathered to watch South Africa beat New Zealand 31-29 in The Rugby Championship. It helps the players to connect more watching another South African team play. 

Van Der Dussen and Maharaj aren’t rookie cricketers by any stretch of the imagination, while Reeza Hendricks and Dwaine Pretorius have emerged as crucial cogs for the team in the last year or so. The squad also comprises the premier players like Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, and others who will join the squad from the IPL.

Mark Boucher is acing the job of the head coach, while other former players like JP Duminy and Charl Langeveldt are on the coaching staff. The coaching staff is relatively young, but they have managed to pull off some good performances in 2021. Victories in both the Test and T20 series in the Caribbean are a testament to the same. The South African team has also whitewashed Ireland and Sri Lanka in the respective T20 series. 

Talking about the Proteas’s recent performance, Van De Dussen said, “We’ve had a good year. We’ve been in different conditions and we’ve adapted well. A year ago we were certainly less experienced. We’re in a good place now.”

The team has also witnessed a change in captaincy in the last 12 months as Temba Bavuma became eth permanent T20 skipper in March, overseeing a string of positive results since.

Talking about his captaincy appointment, Bavuma said, “It came as a surprise to me. There was plenty of initial anxiety and fear, I guess, as to how I could take the team to new heights, but actually, I’ve enjoyed it. I’m lucky that I’ve played with lots of the guys from school level so the understanding is there and the respect is there.”

Bavuma made his international debut when some of the stalwarts like AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, and Morne Morkel haven’t retired. Bavuma is trying to relay his experience of playing with those legends of the game to the rest of the squad.

South African skipper explained, “I draw a lot of inspiration from Amla, particularly. Playing with these guys and watching them prepare has given me great experience to pass on to the rest of the squad. I might prepare like Amla, for example, but someone like David Miller, who comes in at the back end of the innings, may prepare like De Villiers.”

On the other hand, Rassie van der Dussen gives equal importance to mental preparation as compared to the as physical as he is desperate not to burn out himself ahead of a busy few weeks of cricket.

Van de Dussen explained, “You put in all the hours that you need to, and then on the game night, it’s pretty intense. I get my practice done and then mentally switch off so that next time I’m on the field my mind is 100 percent ready to go.”

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