International cricket’s tight scheduling has been highlighted again by the Proteas’ difficulty in getting used to New Zealand’s uncomfortable timezone.
South Africa departed for their tour there on Saturday evening, where they’ll cross a staggering 11 timezones.
To make matters even more challenging, they already play a warm-up match against a New Zealand XI on Tuesday.
“It’s a slightly unprecedented start to a tour for us. Usually we have a seven to ten day period to acclimatise,” said Mohammed Moosajee, the Proteas’ team manager and doctor.
“We don’t have that luxury this time. We will have some tricks up our sleeve to help players deal with the jet lag.”
In fact, it would seem South Africa have a fairly simple way of dealing with the challenge.
“We’ll help the guys adjust and adapt to a certain sleeping pattern. It sounds simple but that’s how it works,” said Moosajee.
“We play two games within five days of arriving. It’s not ideal but it is what it is.”
Faf du Plessis, the Proteas T20 skipper and Man-of-the-Series in the ODI series against Sri Lanka, tried to see the positive side of it.
“We’ll probably just have to sleep a lot on the plane,” he said candidly.
“We’ll get some sleeping tablets. Thankfully we have an amazing team doctor. I’m sure he’ll have a plan in place.”
The 32-year-old, who also captains the Test side, was also philosophical over having to play just the solitary T20 on tour on Friday in Auckland.
It can almost be considered nothing more than an inconvenience, especially with the 50-over format being more relevant this year due to the ICC Champions Trophy.
“It wasn’t ideal losing the T20 series against Sri Lanka,” said Du Plessis.
“But we rested a lot of frontline players but should’ve won that series. I understand the T20 is only an once-off but we want to win because we want to set our high standards in every format.”