- Proteas coach Mark Boucher says bio-bubbles may bring players closer, but are unsustainable.
- The Pakistan tour will be South Africa's third bio-bubble.
- Boucher says they will also play to win ahead of Tuesday’s first Test against Pakistan in Karachi.
Proteas coach Mark Boucher says bio-secure environments that have now become the norm in Test cricket because of the Covid-19 pandemic, are not sustainable in the long term.
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Speaking from Karachi where the Proteas will be playing against Pakistan in the first Test at the National Stadium on Tuesday, Boucher said the bio-bubbles have allowed the players to be closer even though they are costly from a financial and mental perspective.
South Africa have been in two previous bio-bubbles in Cape Town and Tshwane for international engagements against England and Sri Lanka respectively.
“It was a lot better in Irene. The guys did a lot of outdoor activity and South Africans like to be outdoors in general, sitting around a fire talking about a lot of different things and socializing. We haven’t been able to do that here because of Covid-19 and security measures. There is a bit of concern from our side that these bubbles are continuous, and guys are away from their families,” Boucher said.
“Personally, I feel that it’s not sustainable, but I understand the bigger picture. It is challenging from a management perspective, but the players are getting quite close and they are confiding in each other quite a bit. The guys are spending a lot of good time together.”
South Africa’s recent Test successes in Asia have been buttressed by a first Test win and a draw. That was the case when South Africa won in Pakistan in 2007 and in Sri Lanka seven years later.
There’s only been one draw, but eight losses in South Africa’s last nine Tests in Asia. Boucher wasn’t concerned by what happened before he took over in December 2019, but said his team will play to win.
“While I’ve been in charge, we’ve been playing to win. Steve Waugh once said good to great teams will often find themselves in positions where they have to fight out a draw. I’m a realist in that in the first session, you’re going to try and make inroads and play for a win. If you get yourself into a tangle and have to fight out a draw, those are the hardest Tests to win,” Boucher said.
“We’ll certainly go out and play for a result, but if we find ourselves in a tricky situation where we have to draw the game, then we’ll do so. It’s a two-Test series so if we get on the bad side of a toss, which happens on the sub-continent, you have to find a way to draw the game and give yourself a chance to win the series, then you must do that.”