Behind every successful man, so the saying goes, is an even more successful woman. And there will be many successful women in the South African team’s Auckland hotel for the next three days.
The players’ wives families and girlfriends were scheduled to arrive at midnight on Friday (11 am SA time) and, not surprisingly, the atmosphere was as excited as a school sports day.
“A lot of guys have hardly seen their fairer halves for months. Look at a guy like ‘Nella’ – everyone knows when he got married (during the Centurion Test against the West Indies) and they’ve hardly see each other since! We’re all looking forward to their arrival. It might just be the little boost we need to start playing some decent cricket,” Smith said.
It may not all be plain sailing, however. As Smith himself admitted, the arrival of partners in New Zealand poses a few logistical problems, not least the little matter of sleeping arrangements.
“We all battled to sleep beyond 3.00 am for the first four or five days here and, unless the female body clock reacts differently to an 11-hour time difference than male ones, then they’ll all go through the same thing,” Smith said.
So won’t that pose a problem for international sportsmen who need to be at their well-rested prime during on match days?
“Well,” nodded Smith with a large grin, “it would normally but, fortunately, our hotel rooms here all come with two beds so it might be a case of splitting up for a couple of nights while they stay awake and we get some sleep!”
Coach Eric Simons has the potential problem in triplicate with the arrival of wife and children. “I’ve been very fortunate because the hotel have given me a suite with two bedrooms. But I might have to put them all in one room by themselves if they’re bouncing around wide awake at three o’clock in the morning!”
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