Proteas take to the mountains
Gary Kirsten (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The South African cricket team will undergo a four-day team-building exercise in Switzerland to help them cope with the pressure of 13 weeks away from home.
"We've got a full itinerary ahead of us, starting next week and carrying on until April next year," team manager Mohammed Moosajee said on Friday.
"We will be in the UK for 10 weeks, immediately followed by the ICC World Twenty20 in Sri Lanka, for three weeks afterwards.
"Gary (Kirsten) thought that we needed to do something different for the team to cope with the mental strains of such a prolonged heavy work load."
The Proteas head to England looking to win the three-match Test series and leapfrog their hosts into the number one spot on the ICC Test Rankings.
Embarking on his toughest assignment since taking over the reins as head coach, Kirsten decided to work on the mental toughness of his charges ahead of the tour.
Based in the village of Chateau d'Oex, which is heavily forested and surrounded by mountains and streams, the team will enjoy physical as well as mental activities facilitated by adventurer Mike Horn.
"Gary has worked with Mike Horn before (when he was coaching India) and thought the players could benefit from a team building exercise," Moosajee said.
"Mike is giving us four days of his time in between his expeditions.
"He and Paddy Upton (the Proteas' mental conditioning coach) will get to his base in Switzerland on Sunday and we leave on Monday to meet them there."
Some of the activities in store for Graeme Smith and his men include glacial walking, cycling through mountains, forest walks, rescue techniques and river rafting.
"It is mainly a team building exercise. There will be no cricket nets - just the various activities, team chats and talks from Mike," Moosajee said.
"The specifics will all unfold once we get there."