New Zealand's Tim Seifert didn't get an opportunity to actually play for KKR in the IPL but spent vital time in the bubble since being roped in by the franchise as a replacement for USA's Ali Khan. As the IPL 2021 came to an abrupt halt, he was in line to travel back but rather tested positive for COVID-19 and quarantined while his other teammates flew back safely.
However, he admitted that he never felt vulnerable inside the tournament's bio-bubble while adding that his COVID-19 ordeal will not deter him from travelling to India again for future assignments, including the T20 World Cup to be held later this year.
"Talking to some of the English boys that were over there before the IPL everything that they were saying was doing well. You only kind of heard good things, the structures, all the plans that have been put in place," Seifert was quoted as saying by New Zealand Herald.
"That was a good point of view for a player to go over there, and to be honest the whole time while I was over there (in India), the bubble felt good... felt safe."
Seifert, who was part of the Kolkata Knight Riders team in the IPL, is presently undergoing his 14-day mandatory quarantine following his return to New Zealand after recovering from the deadly virus. His statement regarding the safety in the bubble was in contrast to some players of other IPL teams, including Australian Adam Zampa, who said he felt vulnerable inside the IPL bio-bubble in India.
"I got pulled aside and told I'd tested positive and my heart sank straight away when everyone left. I was the only overseas player basically still left in India out of the whole tournament. That's when things got a little bit real," said an emotional Seifert.
"The world stops a little bit, I just couldn't really think what was next and that's the scary part of it you hear about things, and I thought that was going to happen to me."
He thanked former Kiwi stars Brendon McCullum and Stephen Fleming as well as KKR and Chennai Super Kings franchises for making life easier for him during his recovery period in Chennai.
"It definitely was hard and I couldn't thank Brendan (McCullum) and (Stephen) Fleming enough, they made everything a lot easier. Making sure things would be put in place and KKR, CSK support staff, management - they made life easy for me to know that everything would be alright and when that time was to come home, they would do everything to get me home safely and on time," he said.
Seifert, who has so far played 3 ODIs and 35 T20Is, said having a positive frame of mind was key to recovery from COVID-19.
"Once a few days had gone by, everything had kind of died down a little bit I knew it was a time of getting through it, looking at the positives. I'm getting married in two months so that's exciting. My fiance Morgs she's quite happy that I'm back a bit earlier so I can help plan for that.
"I'm lucky that having Covid has very minimal-mild symptoms. From having the virus and how I'm feeling...It's more about the process of quarantining, being stuck in a room knowing that if I get it I could get it worse, other people could get it worse."
(With inputs from PTI)