Nortje is, of course, that rare breed of pace bowler whose physiology, action and fitness standards allow bowling in excess of 150 plus on a consistent basis. However, there are caveats: proper rest and recovery.
Asked by TOI how difficult it was to adjust to the insane scheduling, the non-stop travel and the different time zones in Australia, Nortje replied, “It’s hard. I would say after Covid, it’s something to get used to again. Also, with the schedule these days, there’s so much travel.”
Nortje suggested managing cricketers with help from their backroom staff, but the long-term impact of such a schedule was unknown. “Your rest days have become your travel days, so there is no real rest day anymore. It’s a travel day, then a training day before you get used to conditions. And then you play again,” he said. “So yeah, it’s pretty tough on the bodies. Luckily it’s only four overs, but it’s also at a very high intensity, so it’s hard to say how it affects us.”
For the cricketers, it’s a trade-off between Covid-enforced house arrest and a lack of complete rest days. “We’ve kind of come to deal with it now,” Nortje said.
“You just focus on what you need to do rather than overthinking things and not having that full day off like we might have had during bubbles where you could have a day off but then not go out. It’s nice to leave you. floor in the hotel too. It’s give and take.”