Relaxed South Africa happy with security arrangements in Pakistan


FILE PHOTO: South Africa's Quinton de Kock in action in a Twenty20 match against England at Newlands Cricket Ground, Cape Town, South Africa, November 27, 2020 REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

(Reuters) - Quinton de Kock has lauded the security arrangements laid out for South Africa on their first tour of Pakistan in 14 years and says the players are "a lot calmer" about the tour now they have arrived in the country and seen the measures first-hand.

South Africa will play two tests and three Twenty20 Internationals on their return to Pakistan for the first time since a militant attack on the Sri Lanka team bus in Lahore in 2009 that killed six policemen and two civilians.

"When we were coming here, it was the biggest concern, but when we landed and saw the amount of security, we became a lot calmer. Over the days it has become less of a worry and we have been focussed more on the cricket," the South African captain told reporters on Monday.

"The measures they (the Pakistan government) have taken have allowed us to feel comfortable and just focus on preparing for the test series.

"Every corner is checked and all bases are covered. We feel safe and for now are just worrying about cricket."

South Africa are confined to their hotel rooms outside of practice sessions, and De Kock has become the latest international player to question the sustainability of bio-secure environments amid the coronavirus pandemic due to the strain on the mental health of players.

"It’s something that is not easy. I’ve said before it will eventually catch up to some players on the emotional and mental side. You are trying to keep yourself mentally stable and to perform for your country all at once.

"I’ve only been home for maximum three weeks over the last six months. It’s been tough, but we soldier on because people back home want to watch you perform."

The first test in Karachi starts on Jan. 26 and is followed by the second in Rawalpindi from Feb. 4.

(Reporting by Nick Said, Editing by William Maclean)

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