‘Pity that sporting events are being cancelled due to COVID-19 crisis’, says Dale Steyn

Cricket and all the other sports have suffered badly because of the pandemic.

Dale Steyn | Getty

Legendary Proteas pacer Dale Steyn on Thursday (March 19) said it's a pity that sporting events are being cancelled due to the Coronavirus outbreak, which has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

See Also: Anderson anxious as COVID-19 crisis threatens English cricket season

Steyn, who was plying his trade in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) for Islamabad United, had to return back home amid the COVID-19 crisis. Moreover, the PSL 2020 also got postponed for an indefinite period.

"It is actually such a pity that everything is being blocked off, because in a country like South Africa, where we have all of our problems from the past – culture, religion, ethnic backgrounds – the one thing that brings everybody together is sport," Steyn told ESPNCricinfo.

"But now at the moment, you don't have that. In South Africa, we kind of like looking for things that unite people in big, big groups. When you don't have sport, it's like, oh, what do we fall back onto?

"And I think Nelson Mandela was the first person to really say that: sport unites people in a way that nothing else does. And if you take sport away, then I don't know really what we have. We're gonna have to work it all out."

Apart from cricket, major sporting events such as the Euro and Copa America football, French Open tennis and Formula One races have also been rescheduled.

Despite the panic, Steyn said he hasn’t stocked essentials like many others as it's unfair to do so in a crisis.

"It just seems like it is the only topic of conversation. Any WhatsApp groups that I'm part of, it's really tough to escape. Normally if I am on holiday I'll be planning a fishing trip or a surfing trip. At the moment I am just chilling at home," Steyn said.

"We were under that kind of hotel arrest, advised not to go out and wander the streets, which is totally fine; I don't want to break protocol and (have) something happen and be blamed for cricket never being played in Pakistan again because I did something stupid."

Globally, 176 countries have been affected, more than 8,900 people have died and over 200,000 infected by the deadly disease as it spreads rapidly to new territories.

No wonder, the pandemic has raised fears that markets may be shut in coming days and households may run out of essentials.

"We just decided that stockpiling is definitely not the way to go. It is not fair on everybody who needs that stuff. I went to the grocery store the other day and everyone had bought all the toilet paper," he said.

"We have what we need, and when that runs out, that runs out, and we need to go and get some more. We didn't feel it was necessary to go and absolutely just, like, zombie our lives up.

"There's other people that live on a day-to-day basis. They are not going to get all of that stuff, so we thought it was best not to do that," Steyn, who is living with his mother and his girlfriend, added.

Asked which team-mates he would to be quarantined with, Steyn said, "I would love to be in quarantine with someone like Quinny de Kock."

"He is one of my favourite people in the world. If you walk into his (hotel) room, he's either making flies for fishing or he is watching a fishing video or he is watching a cooking video. And when you are at his house, he's doing the same stuff.

"I hate cooking, so it would be great if he was. Because then I could watch all the fishing videos that he's watching, I could help him do all the tying, and he could cook all the food. He's a proper cook," he added.

The South African fast bowling great also revealed the matches he would like to watch in the quarantine period.

"I would probably say that they should put every World Cup up until '99 on. So 1992, '96, '99 – I love those World Cups," he said.

"And even the one in South Africa (2003) because that's when I really started to get into guys like Brett Lee, because I knew the possibility of me playing against them or meeting them was so much closer than what it was in, say, '92, when I first got introduced to the game."

(With PTI inputs)


By Salman Anjum - 19 Mar, 2020

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