Facing all sorts of off-field issues in the build-up to their home series against England, Proteas coach Mark Boucher says his team is taking each battle in its stride, and he is confident they will be ready to put up a fight.
England arrived in Cape Town on Tuesday, for a six-match limited overs series starting next week, in the wake of a turbulent period for the sport.
While administrative battles had threatened to derail the tour, however, Cricket SA’s board approved an independent interim board earlier this week, dousing the flames of a potentially explosive situation and ensuring the series would go ahead as planned.
“The CSA issue is there. You can’t hide behind it,” Boucher said on Thursday.
“But we understand this is a chance for us to bring some good news to cricket and change some of the perspectives about the sport in our country. We’re looking forward to that opportunity.”
One Proteas player had returned a positive Covid-19 test this week, and two others had been in close contact, with all three players being placed in isolation.
While none of the trio had been replaced, two players had been added to the squad for practice matches this weekend.
Though he admitted they faced unique concerns ahead of their return to action after an eight-month lockdown hiatus, however, Boucher said the bio-bubble in which players had been placed was similar to security bubbles which the Proteas squad had previously experienced while playing in other countries.
“We’re just happy to be back playing cricket,” he said.
“It’s a very real situation and it has affected us as a squad, but it’s something we prepared for in advance.”
Competing in front of empty stadiums was also nothing new for the players, who often appeared at empty grounds at lower-tier domestic matches.
“Even though there will be no crowds around, people will certainly be watching us,” Boucher said.
“And there will be no lack of passion.”