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India, here I come!

As I write this, a fairly normal Sunday is drawing to a close. I say ‘normal’, but for me, a normal Sunday is usually spent on the cricket field or on tour. So, even though the back injury has been frustrating, it has allowed me to do things like go to church with Imari on a Sunday morning and have my Mom round for Sunday lunch – small things that you might take for granted.

This week sees me fly to India to join up with the Chennai Super Kings. It’s going to be an interesting time for me, as I still won’t be able to play, just yet, and I still have work to do on my back. There has had to be a bit of communication between Brandon Jackson, the Proteas physio, and the Super Kings medical staff, which includes fitness trainer Greg King, who is a South African guy who has been with the team for a couple of years and was previously with the Indian national team. Basically, everyone needs to be on the same page, with regards my rehab and what I can and can’t do. The reason I’ve waited this long before going to India was to make full use of the oxygen chamber I’ve been using – I’ve had 15 two-hour sessions, which has helped speed up the rehab process, and I don’t think the same facilities are available in India.

So, my initial routine will be fairly straightforward – about two hours of rehab a day and then try to keep busy, while waiting my turn with the CSK medical staff. The guys currently playing will be the priority, so I’ve just got to take a back seat behind them, and dive in when there’s a gap. That’s fair enough and I’ve got no problem with that. What I will have to get used to again is the pool or ‘bath’ at the team hotel. It’s so warm that it’s not exactly a refreshing dip, every time I get in.

Initially, I’ve got a few days to myself in the team hotel, as the guys are playing away this week. But Imari is travelling with me, so at least I’ll have a bit of company. I’m also looking forward to having Albie Morkel’s son over there with me, as he keeps me entertained and vice versa. AJ is a real character and he’ll be heading across with Albie and his missus the following week. It can get a bit boring for a little one, being stuck in the hotel all the time. So, we’re going to keep each other busy.

Good to see Chris Morris already doing well for the Super Kings, including grabbing the wicket of Chris Gayle against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. His life has changed since getting picked up by CSK for some big money, and how he deals with new-found success and financial security will be key in determining what the future holds for him. But Chris is a good guy and I think he’ll be fine.

Something that might not be well known by those watching in South Africa on TV, is that the IPL is a real mix of cultures, with players coming together in teams from all over the world. Within that, there are many different religions, as well, and I think people might under-estimate just how important it is to bring these cultures together, to be successful. I think CSK have done it incredibly well, and that’s why we’ve been successful. As South Africans, I think we’re a lot more understanding and tolerant of different cultures, because of our past, and that’s why I think we mix easily with guys of different cultures and religions.

Next up, I’ll be sending greetings from India.

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