(AFP) -The captain of Africa Africa, Quinton de Kock, said on Monday that he and his players felt a responsibility to ensure future missions around South Africa can be maintained through strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols.
He said the South African team was staying quarantined in a ‘bio-bubble’ facility outside Pretoria ahead of a two-match Test series against Sri Lanka starting at nearby Centurion on Saturday.
Players adhered to a strict regime of room service meals, social isolation and small group training until the Covid test on Tuesday.
Both teams remain in the same country club facility but De Kock said there was no direct contact.
“We can see them but we have our own boundaries and we can’t mix.”
The teams will stay at the same location for the Tests in Centurion and Johannesburg, with both Test grounds within easy driving distance.
This is South Africa’s second experience of life in a biosafety ‘bubble’ following the unfortunate white ball series against England which was called off early due to positive coronavirus tests, which were later found to be false positives.
Although Sri Lanka arrived in South Africa last weekend for the Test matches, doubts were expressed about Australia achieving a planned Test series in South Africa early next year.
South Africa gathered last Saturday and were immediately tested for the virus. All tests came back negative but De Kock said full training would only begin after receiving the second-round test results on Tuesday.
“Obviously we have that bit of responsibility but it’s not much you can’t handle,” said De Kock.
“We can only play a small part in securing future journeys in Covid’s bubble life and times.”
The South African squad was reduced from 19 to 17 players when two tested positive for Covid last week. A team spokeswoman said the names could not be released for medical reasons and labor relations but a new squad list would be announced after the next round of Covid tests, which will allow deductions to be made about who lost.
De Kock, South Africa’s regular netball captain, said he had agreed to be a Test captain as a short-term measure for seven Test matches during the current season, “until someone really raises his hand. The guys are looking for a long-term leadership role and I will not. “
Although the original reason for not making De Kock a Test captain was to overload responsibility as a leading batsman as well as a wicketkeeper, he said he would continue as wicketkeeper in the upcoming series.
De Kock said his objective for the Test season was to accelerate the development of young players, with South Africa needing to make too much ground to be a factor in the world Test championship.
“We doubt whether we will play in the championship final,” he said. “We have young players who need to learn – and to learn quickly. I want the new guys to come in and start putting their names up. “
De Kock said he expects the fields in Centurion and Johannesburg to have speed and bounce. He said South Africa wanted to play clever, aggressive Test cricket in a bid to reverse a 2-0 series loss when Sri Lanka toured in 2018/19.