An emotional Tim Seifert has spoken publicly for the first time about his ordeal recovering from Covid-19.
The Black Caps cricketer is isolating in an Auckland hotel and entering the final stages of his mandatory quarantine, after contracting the disease at the Indian Premier League.
Seifert was forced to remain in India after testing positive for the virus earlier this month – after returning seven negative tests – just hours before he was due to leave the Covid-ravaged country.
The Northern Districts wicketkeeper, who represented the Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL, failed both his pre-departure PCR tests and was taken into quarantine.
The Indian Twenty20 tournament was suspended indefinitely after players from several teams tested positive for Covid-19 amid the country's worsening situation.
His symptoms were mild, such as a cough, lack of smell and taste, and hot flushes.
Seifert said the mental side of what was ahead was more daunting.
"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," he said.
Seifert spent two nights at the Chennai Super Kings' hotel, and it was there where he received the difficult news.
"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.
"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 the KKR [Kolkata Knight Riders], the CSK [Chennai Super Kings] support staff, management, CEO of KKR – 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.
"Once a few days had gone by, everything had kind of died down a little bit… I just 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 fiancée Morgs – she's quite happy that I'm back a bit earlier so I can help plan for that."
The 26-year-old said it was tough to see the fellow New Zealand players leave without him.
"My room looked over the entrance of the hotel so when they were leaving I was waving goodbye to them."
Seifert said the troubles he endured in India haven't deterred him from travelling overseas for future Black Caps tours, such as the upcoming Twenty20 World Cup in India, starting in October.
"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, and all the plans that have been put in place. 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.
"From my point of view of going back, I'm very lucky that having Covid has very minimal-mild symptoms. From having the virus and how I'm feeling, if that was going to be the whole time then I'd be happy. 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."
Seifert will remain in quarantine until June 2 or 3 - around 25 days since his original positive test.
As well as wedding preparations taking up his time in New Zealand, Seifert plans to hit the gym and link up with McCullum and Northern Districts batting coach Sriram Krishnamurthy for some training once he leaves quarantine.