South Africa's head coach Mark Boucher insisted that the global pandemic has brought stiffer challenges for bowlers in comparison to batsmen. He also added that batsmen can work out their fitness by doing shuttles but it's not easy to train for bowlers and deliver 20 overs in their back garden.
COVID has changed a lot of things in how cricket is being played at the moment. The first disadvantage that it brought for bowlers was that the ICC banned the usage of saliva which has been traditionally an important part of shining and managing the cricket ball. And now South African coach Mark Boucher has highlighted a pertinent point on how the virus has impacted the preparation and training of bowlers more than batsmen. He feels that batsmen can still get fit and raring to for Test matches far easily then say a bowler, who has to bowl 20 overs in an innings or even more and needs different level of fitness.
"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 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, and that is 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. You can't just say to a guy rock up and bowl 20 overs now. You've got to build him up so if you do want to push him, his body can handle it," said Boucher, reported Cricbuzz.
The first Test between Sri Lanka and South Africa, which was won by the hosts saw as many as five players from the Asian side getting injured with three even ruled out of the Jo'burg Test. The Proteas head coach reflecting on the situation stated that there is a need to think out of the box and manage workload of players well.
"We're having to think out the box continuously to try and get our workloads up in order for these guys to come out and bowl 20 overs in a day," Boucher said. "All we've done, really, is recognise that we're going to need a big squad in order to get through this season.
"Sometimes you just want to play a guy for the sake of playing him. Maybe he's your top bowler. There needs to be a big consideration for the workload that he's had. The mental side, the physical side; all that suff comes into play. You've got to take the emotion out of it and make a smart cricketing decision."
Kagiso Rabada, who missed out on the first Test against Sri Lanka, has been added to the squad for the second Test but the former Proteas gloveman is against the idea of rushing him back into the XI for the New Year Test that starts from Jan.3.
"We really want to play 'KG'," Boucher said. "But he needs to get his workloads up so that he doesn't go into a Test match where there's a high risk of him getting injured. Then we'd be doing not only him but ourselves injustice."