With Sri Lanka’s hopes in the first Test being destroyed by a spate of injuries to their bowlers, Proteas coach Mark Boucher said managing the workloads of their bowlers would be central to their planning for the second Test starting at the Wanderers on Sunday, with even Kagiso Rabada’s participation by no means certain.
South Africa beat Sri Lanka by an innings and 45 runs at Centurion on Tuesday after the tourists lost four players to injury, and were able to strengthen their squad with the addition of Rabada, who has now recovered from a thigh strain and was doing strenuous fitness work on the field before the start of play. And while the Proteas would love to have their highest-ranked bowler back in their ranks to help seal a 2-0 series win, Boucher said on Tuesday that Rabada would not be rushed back into action, adding that he had some sympathy for Sri Lanka’s woes.
“It’s very difficult to prepare in these times. We’ve had games cancelled and you have to think out of the box to get the bowlers’ workloads up enough so they can bowl 20 overs in a day,” Boucher said.
“We’re going to need a big squad to get through the season and there will have to be a big consideration of workloads and the mental and physical wellbeing of the players.
“We need to take the emotion out and make good cricket decisions. For instance with KG (Rabada) we have to make sure that we don’t expose him to a higher risk of injury and we will be extra cautious with him. So I don’t know if he will play at the Wanderers. He’s been out for quite some time. Obviously everyone wants him to play but we have to manage him so we don’t put him in the red zone.”
So with Rabada yet to prove his match fitness, Glenton Stuurman and Dwaine Pretorius recovering from niggles and the usual aches and pains after a Test match played in hot conditions, the national coach said left-armer Beuran Hendricks could well be added to the portfolio of players for the Wanderers game having served his Covid quarantine time.
“Beuran just has to go through medical protocols before he can come back in. One or two tests including for anti-bodies,” Boucher said.
“I think he’s passed and he will hopefully be back in our bubble in a couple of days. We need to bolster our bowling ranks because we have one or two niggles.”