South Africa captain Quinton de Kock is excited about the new challenge of touring Pakistan later this month but has expressed his reservations regarding the ordeal of being stuck in another bio-secure bubble.
The Proteas last visited Pakistan in 2007 when they won the two-match Test series 1-0, which turned out to be former Pakistan skipper Inzamam-ul-Haq's final outing in international cricket.
South Africa's upcoming trip to Pakistan will consist of two Tests and three T20Is scheduled to be held across the three venues of Karachi, Rawalpindi and Lahore.
“There are two sides to it,” said De Kock as he reflected on the pandemic-enforced restrictions which entail teams spending prolonged periods in a bio-secure environment separated from families.
“I’m excited to get over there and play cricket in what will be a new challenge. But the off-the-field stuff is another type of challenge. Bubble life is probably going to be the hardest challenge we will face out there,” he said.
Several South Africa stars including De Kock himself were part of the IPL's bio-secure bubble in the UAE from September-November. They were then placed in strict quarantine for December's limited-overs assignment against England, of which the ODI leg was aborted due to a couple of hotel staff members testing positive for Covid-19.
“It’s very unsettling and a little nervy. It’s an accumulation of a lot of little things you are not used to plus the uncertainty of being caught in a lockdown, where you are then stuck in a place,” De Kock said.
“That’s the worst-case scenario but it is something you do think about. But for now, we just have to deal with it in the best way possible.”
Top-flight cricket has been making a gradual resumption to Pakistan after years of international cricket isolation following a militant attack on the Sri Lankan team in 2009.
The country welcomed back Test cricket after a decade with the historic tours of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in the past 13 months. The fifth edition of the Pakistan Super League was played in the South Asian nation in its entirety for the first time since its inception.