The life of a professional cricketer on tour seems rather nice – practise for two or three hours, go for a massage, and then you have the rest of the day off apart from maybe an evening meeting. But in these days of Covid bubbles, the monotony of that treadmill and the lack of meaningful human contact can lead to boredom, frustration and bad mental spaces.
Proteas all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius is a husband and father of a little boy and he spoke on Sunday of some of the difficulties of being in quarantine in Sri Lanka ahead of their limited-overs series which starts on Thursday.
“We have to train in smaller groups because of Covid quarantine, so you lose a bit of that connection, and we also have separate eating areas so you miss that team environment,” Pretorius said.
“But we are strong enough to get past that. It will only be for three or four more sessions. I think it’s actually more challenging for the coaches because instead of only being out there for two or three hours, it has now become five or six hours.
“The most challenging and disappointing part of it is not being able to see the country. I’ve always wanted to see Sri Lanka, which I’ve heard is a beautiful country, so that’s the toughest part.
“You sit in your room a lot trying to figure out how to stay busy, but also to relax because you can’t stay switched on all the time. And it’s even more difficult not having our families with us.”
In terms of the actual cricket, Pretorius believes the pitches at Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, where all three ODIs and three T20s will be played, will be lowish scoring and the outfields are not particularly quick either.
“I think spin and changes of pace will play a massive role and there won’t be much swing,” he said.
“In terms of batting, it’s about playing good cricket shots, hitting hard and hitting the spaces.”