PSL 2021: quarantine life harder than 'facing the world’s quickest bowler' for Faf du Plessis

Quetta Gladiators' South African batsman emphasises on importance of routine

Faf du Plessis says quarantine life with a family in tow is “harder than facing the world’s quickest bowler with a new ball”.

The South African batsman is in Abu Dhabi preparing for the restart of the 2021 HBL Pakistan Super League season.

The campaign will resume on Wednesday, when Lahore Qalandars meet Islamabad United at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in the capital.

For Du Plessis, the tournament represents the latest instalment of living in a bio-secure bubble, while touring the world playing cricket in the time of Covid.

He is well versed with coronavirus safety measures in the UAE, having played the entirety of the IPL campaign here with Chennai Super Kings last year.

Although he says players should be grateful for the chance to play cricket at all, he acknowledges the prevailing conditions are a challenge.

“We don’t get to see much of outside life anymore,” said Du Plessis, whose Quetta Gladiators side return to action against Islamabad on Friday.

“You spend most of the time in your room. You are very limited in what you can do.

Quetta Gladiators' Faf du Plessis plays a shot during the Pakistan Super League (PSL) T20 cricket match between Islamabad United and Quetta Gladiators at the National Stadium in Karachi on March 2, 2021. (Photo by Asif HASSAN / AFP)

“Personally, I have done quite a few bubbles in a row in the last year and a half. I think it is really important that you have a plan in place for yourself, to try and make sure you stay mentally healthy.

“If you don’t, it can get tough. For me, it is about setting up my room so that I can get as close to what it would feel like at home, so you don’t feel like you are boxed into a room all the time.”

On some of his previous assignments, Du Plessis has shared his quarantine time with his wife and two young children.

“Travelling with partners is tough,” he said. “I have experienced that, going to the IPL with my family.

“Doing quarantine for seven days in a row with two kids, it is much harder than facing the world’s quickest bowler with the new ball. That was a challenge for me to work through.”

On the field, Du Plessis’ side also face a tough battle ahead. The 2019 champions are currently last in the six-team table, four points adrift of the knockout places.

He remains optimistic about Quetta’s chances, though, given the raft of changes that have followed the suspension of the league.

“All the teams have changed a lot,” Du Plessis said.

“Even the teams who were looking strong at the top of the table have changed because of Covid, and the availability of overseas players.

“It is almost like it is a new tournament. For us, we can’t start slow. We have to start in a winning way where we hit the ground running in the first game.”