South African cricketer Faf du Plessis believes spending months in a bio-secure bubble could soon become a major challenge for players.
“We understand that this is a very tough season and a tough challenge for a lot of people out there, but if its back-to-back-to-back bubble life, things would become a big challenge,” du Plessis said during a virtual news conference on Saturday.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, cricketers have to adhere to strict procedures for an international series. In countries like Pakistan, international games are being played in empty stadiums and players’ movement confined to just their hotel and stadiums.
Du Plessis is one of those South African cricketers, along with captain Quinton de Kock, to have experienced life in a bubble over the last few months. He played in the Indian Premier League in the United Arab Emirates and home series against Sri Lanka. Now he has a two-test series in Pakistan, starting Tuesday in Karachi, followed by the second test at Rawalpindi.
“The main priority is to play cricket, to be out there doing what we love instead of being at home … so I think that still remains the most important thing. But I think there would definitely come a point where players would struggle with this (bubble),” du Plessis said.
“If you look at a calendar of the last eight months, you’re looking at about four or five months in a bubble, which is a lot. For some of us (being) without family, it can get challenging. Right now, I’m still in a good place. I’m still feeling really motivated and driven, but I can only speak for myself.
“I don’t think it’s possible to continue from bubble to bubble to bubble, I’ve seen and heard a lot of players talk about it. I don’t think it’s sustainable.”
The South African team practised at the National Stadium — the venue for the test opener — for the first time on Saturday. Before that, the visitors had been practising at a stadium close to the team hotel for the last four days where they played intra-squad matches.
“For now, (I’m) enjoying the four walls of my room and then the pitch outside where we can get to do what we love,” du Plessis said.
The 36-year-old du Plessis, who has appeared in 67 test matches for South Africa with a batting average topping 40, will be playing his first test in Pakistan since making his debut against Australia in 2012.
Pakistan last hosted South Africa in 2007. In 2009, international cricket’s doors were shut on Pakistan after an attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team bus at Lahore.