South African captain De Kock is taking a mental health break

Issued on: 15/02/2021 – 22:14

Johannesburg (AFP)

South African captain Quinton de Kock will take a mental health hiatus and skip an upcoming Twenty20 domestic tournament on medical advice.

Andrew Breetzke, executive director of the SA Cricketers’ Association (SACA), told the ESPNcricinfo website that De Kock would be taking a break from the game “for a few weeks”.

“SACA and Cricket South Africa will continue to support him in this process,” said Breetzke.

De Kock, South Africa’s 2020 Cricketer of the Year, returned from Pakistan last week after leading South Africa in two losing friendlies in which he fought as a batsman and was criticized for his captain.

De Kock, South Africa’s regular white ball captain, agreed to temporarily head the testing site this season.

He admitted last month that he was feeling the stress of living in bio-safe “bubbles” that are a reality for international cricketers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

After capturing South Africa to a win in the home test series against Sri Lanka, De Kock questioned the sustainability of the “bubble” life, which he described as “worrying”.

He said at the time that he had mixed feelings about traveling to Pakistan because he was frustrated at restricting himself to a bio-safe environment.

South African cricket director Graeme Smith said earlier Monday that all contract players in the country would play in the T20 tournament as well as the remaining games of a four-day competition.

However, it later emerged that De Kock and Faf du Plessis were not in the ranks announced by the country’s six franchises. The reasons for Du Plessis’s absence were not known.

All T20 games will be played in Durban between February 19 and 29, with players in a bio-safe environment.

Although the country’s playtesters have had a week off since returning from Pakistan, the T20 national squad had to go straight to the “bubble” upon arriving from a streak that ended on Sunday.

“We’re trying to manage those bubble lives that players spend time in, the mental health and well-being of the players,” said Smith.

“But we have to get our (national) players to play. We have a lot of growth in our men’s game and we have to strengthen the players.”

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