Kagiso Rabada of the Proteas in action during the national men's cricket team training session in Pretoria, May 16 2019. Picture: LEE WARREN/GALLO IMAGES
Kagiso Rabada of the Proteas in action during the national men's cricket team training session in Pretoria, May 16 2019. Picture: LEE WARREN/GALLO IMAGES

Positive Covid-19 cases in the Proteas camp have not disrupted the national team’s preparations for the six-match limited-overs contest against England‚ premier fast bowler Kagiso Rabada says.                         

Eoin Morgan’s England team were put on high alert after Cricket SA revealed that a Proteas player had tested positive for Covid-19 before the squad entered the biosecure bubble environment in Cape Town on November 18.

The situation escalated after a second member in the Proteas 24-man squad tested positive at the weekend during a second mandatory round of testing‚ leading to the cancellation of an intrasquad practice match that was scheduled for Boland Park in Paarl on Saturday.

Cricket SA said the unnamed player‚ who is understood to have come into contact with other teammates‚ was isolated from the rest of the squad. The Proteas are sharing the Vineyard Hotel in Cape Town with the tourists but in separate bubbles.

The limited-overs series begins at Newlands in Cape Town on Friday but the opening match could be in jeopardy if Covid-19 tests produce more positive results. Both teams will undergo another round of mandatory testing on Thursday while the Proteas’ positive cases and those in self-isolation will be tested two days earlier. 

Rabada said although the situation in camp has been weird due to positive cases and strict safety protocols‚ the Proteas have found ways to train and prepare without glitches and with minimal risks.

“It’s been quite bizarre actually‚” said the 25-year-old.  “We have to train in groups now. There’s a group of noncontacts and a group of close-contacts. It doesn’t mean that anyone is positive. But it just means you have to take extra precaution‚ so that is how it has been.

“We are just waiting [for results from another mandatory round of testing]. There’s going to be a test sometime soon and we will wait for those results to come back.

“But training is going well [and we are] sticking to the strict rules that have been set in place. It is definitely challenging but we are training well and communicating well as a group.”

Rabada last played international cricket in February but he proved his fitness with the Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League where he ended as the leading wicket-taker with 30 scalps for the runners-up. 

His 30 wickets at the tournament included dismissals of some of the England batters who will face off against the Proteas from November 27 to December 9.

Some of world cricket’s fast bowling stars will be on show during this six-match contest with Rabada and Anrich Nortjé expected to outshine Jofra Archer and Mark Wood in home conditions.

“I think every department will be competing against one another. I guess that is just what it is‚ to see if our bowlers are better than theirs and if their batters are better than us,” Rabada said. 

“In a team performance, that is what you would want‚ to match yourselves against other team’s departments.

“But ultimately we are just focusing on ourselves to see if we can do a better job. It is not about us looking too much into how their bowlers bowl and us bettering that.”

The Lions star‚ however‚ said he is more focused on removing batsmen from the crease than on what the pacemen in the opponents camp will be doing‚ although he holds Archer and Wood in high regard as fast bowlers.

“They are world-class fast bowlers and you have to appreciate the skill they bring.”

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