The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated many countries over the past 18 months and like any other sport, cricket too has been badly affected. But, due to bio-bubbles, we have already witnessed many exciting matches as far as cricket is concerned. Currently, the T20 World Cup 2021 is taking place in the UAE from where Betway offers an inside look at the South African bubble and how the players have been holding through the last twelve months.
The experience was described by South African cricketers – Temba Bavuma, Rassie Van der Dussen as well as Keshav Maharaj.
What does a bio-bubble mean? Defined as sanitised zones, bio-bubbles are accessible to only a few individuals who are not positive to Covid-19 virus. The major sporting events which have adopted the bio-bubble method include: the Indian Premier League, the NBA and the Olympics in Japan as well as the US Open.
Inside the South African bio-bubble, Rassie van Der Dussen asked his wife Lara: “What are we watching?” and the verdict that comes is “no, not too much at the moment. We’re in between series so you’ve caught me at a difficult time.” This is now quite an embarrassing state of affairs considering that the pair had very little else to fill up their downtime inside the bio-bubble.
Van Der Dussen says: “I’m sure in the next few days I’ll put some time into thinking about it. It’ll be a series, we tend to fall asleep in front of movies.”
The gym section on the bottom floor of the hotel where the South African T20 team is accommodated is not only their team room but also a medical area.
Keshav Maharaj, on the other hand, claims that the makeshift setup is nowhere ideal. But the left-arm spinner is working to make the most of this unusual preparation.
The South African slow bowler said: “It is what it is. 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. I like neatness. There’s nothing worse than an untidy room and scruffy sheets. It really drives me mad.
“With no cleaners coming into the rooms I spend time making myself more comfortable by keeping my room in check.”
When it comes to dining, the South African unit gets together in a cordoned off area to eat, drink coffee, as well as watch sport.
The Proteas have come to the UAE with victories in Test as well as T20 series in the West Indies. This was followed with whitewashes in the T20 series against Ireland and Sri Lanka. These suggest that the South African cricketers are benefitting from getting into a big tournament with an extra 12 months of development to support them.
Van Der Dussen said: “We’ve had a good year. We’ve been in different conditions and we’ve adapted really well.
“A year ago we were certainly less experienced. We’re in a good place now.”
The past 12 months has also seen a shift in the South African captaincy with Temba Bavuma taking over as T20 skipper in March 2021, and since then doing quite well.
Bavuma says: “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 really 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. I feel that they are behind me.”