Call it the bane of the pandemic. But some teams are having to make compromises even when it comes to captaincy when it comes to scheduling. South Africa are providing rare insight.
South Africa officially begin their tour of Pakistan. That in itself should be a momentous enough an occasion, given that Pakistan has not seen much cricket in over a decade, particularly international cricket, since the terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008 and the terrorist attack on the visiting Sri Lankan team thereafter. However, already South Africa are making headlines for the wrong reasons.
Quinton de Kock was already making waves at the Boxing Day Test match and thereafter after it was announced that he was the South African Test captain for the series against Pakistan.
De Kock followed it up to state explicitly that it was an interim role to bridge the gap since Faf du Plessis stepped down and Cricket South Africa’s inability to identify South Africa’s next captain.
There was plenty of controversy in the year before the pandemic when on the tour of India, CSA had announced that Quinton de Kock was South Africa’s limited-overs captain.
It was controversial in the sense that Faf du Plessis was claimed to be rotated out and then was taken out of the equation in terms of leadership even though du Plessis had maintained that he was South Africa’s captain until the end of the ICC Twenty20 World Cup which of course did not happen in the year of the pandemic.
Now just ahead of South Africa’s official campaign getting underway, it was announced that South Africa had a new captain in Heinrich Klaasen who will captain South Africa in the Twenty20 and one day internationals in Pakistan.
And yet it is not a demotion for de Kock. With Australia’s tour to South Africa in the offing, it is a matter of having to adjust schedules keeping the pandemic and quarantine restrictions in mind, for one big reason.
Already teams are spending more time on the tour due to the coronavirus pandemic and having to serve even a small amount of time in confined space before being allowed to train.
That time is now apparently eating into schedules maintained for the gap between series and also, for preparation time for the next assignment. It is from that perspective that the teams are having to divide themselves, and in South Africa’s case even substituting a captain to make sure two tours are on track.