Proteas batsman Heinrich Klaasen has revealed that he was seriously ill after being infected with Covid-19 during England’s tour to South Africa last year.
Klaasen, who will captain the Proteas in the upcoming T20I series against Pakistan, opened up about the severity of his illness over the festive period.
The 29-year-old tested positive during the T20I series against England in December, when both squads were residing in a Cape Town hotel in a bio-secure environment.
‘The first 16 or 17 days I couldn’t really do much. I was very ill. The problem came with the fact that I could not start exercising. Or I could start exercising again, but I could not run 20 to 30 metres, or do anything for two or three minutes without my heart rate going up too high,’ he told reporters on Tuesday.
‘It was mentally very difficult to just have to sit at home for two months. I could do nothing. Later I had a weekend in the bush where I could get away from it all and get a fresh head before we had to come here.’
Klaasen had to regain his fitness in his own time and was unavailable for the recent Momentum One-Day Cup.
He has, however, been deemed ready to lead the Proteas in the absence of Quinton de Kock, who is part of the Test squad currently returning home to South Africa.
‘There are protocols that one has to follow to be able to rebuild your workload but I could not stick to that programme. It is a very simple programme where you exercise for 10 to 15 minutes a day and like walking 200m. It took me a long time to just get my heart rate under control so that I could exercise at least a little bit without getting past the phase where it is too dangerous.
‘For the last three weeks, I have been able to train really hard with Mandla [Mashimbyi] at the Titans. I’m on course, I’m fit and I’m safe and I can play cricket again,’ he added.
The first of three T20Is gets under way in Lahore on Thursday.