Sunday July 03, 2022

Boucher highlights challenges for bowlers in times of Covid

December 31, 2020

CENTURION: Kagiso Rabada is not an automatic choice for South Africa in the second Test against Sri Lanka, according to coach Mark Boucher.

Rabada joined the South African bio-secure environment during the first Test after recovering from a groin strain but South Africa’s leading fast bowler will need to be assessed carefully before being rushed into action when the second Test starts at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Sunday.

“Because his name is Kagiso Rabada, we would want to play him but we’ve got to manage his loads,” said Boucher.

“He’s coming back from injury so we will just monitor his progress.”

Speaking after South Africa’s win over the Sri Lankans by an innings and 45 runs in Centurion, Boucher said the biggest challenge facing cricket teams in the times of Covid-19 was managing fast bowlers.

He said he had sympathy for opposite number Mickey Arthur who had to deal with two Sri Lankan fast bowlers breaking down during the Test.

“It’s very difficult in these times to prepare,” he said.

“We are having to think out of the box continuously to try and get our workloads up in order to bowl 20 overs a day. It’s easier for batters to work on their fitness. You can do shuttles. But, it’s difficult to bowl 20 overs in your back garden.

“You have to try to simulate a game situation. You might have to bowl 10 overs in the morning and then come back in the afternoon and bowl another 10 overs, and while you are busy waiting you walk around the field, trying to simulate what you would do in a game.

“You can’t put guys in cotton wool and just have them bowl six overs and think they are ready for a Test match.”

Boucher said Sri Lanka’s injury woes emphasised the importance of teams having big squads at a time when it was necessary for players to be in bio-secure ‘bubbles’.

He said South Africa would not tamper with their top six batting order after the team piled up 621 runs in Centurion but hinted that there could be some rotation of bowlers.

“Sometimes with bowlers you just want to play a guy for the sake of playing him because he is your top bowler. You need to consider his workloads, from a mental side, from a physical side. You’ve got to take the emotion out of it and make a smart cricketing decision.”

Referring specifically to Rabada, Boucher said it would be unfair to the team, as well as the player, to rush him into action if there was a high risk of him being injured, especially with Test series against Pakistan and Australia coming up over the next two months.