Coronavirus enforced restrictions & thousands of security staff made very challenging situations for South Africa on their tour of Pakistan, says head coach Mark Boucher.
South Africa is touring Pakistan for the first time in 14 years after International Cricket in Pakistan was suspended after the terror attacks on the Sri Lankan team in 2009. Pakistan has hosted various limited overs series in the last six years, but Test cricket was only revived in late 2019 & under the sort of security normally reserved for visiting heads of state.
“It is challenging from a management perspective — especially when you are in a place like Pakistan where you can’t get outside,” Boucher told a virtual press conference.
A massive security detail made up of Police & Paramilitary Personnel is guarding the team at their hotel & the stadium which forced the visitors to spend a lot of time in their rooms. The first test will start in Karachi on Tuesday after the squad completed Quarantine & get negative COVID-19 results.
“Personally, I don’t think it’s sustainable from a financial and just a headspace point of view for players, for staff, for management,” Boucher said of the coronavirus restrictions.
“I think it’s been necessary to get the game of cricket up and running. I think everyone understands that. But it doesn’t make it easier.”
Boucher who toured Pakistan in a more relaxed atmosphere in 1997, 2003 and 2007, is a former South African wicketkeeper with a world record of 555 dismissals behind the stumps in 147 Tests. Most of the South African top players will return home after playing the second test match in Rawalpindi (February 4-8) to prepare for the Australia series & a second string will feature in the 20-20 series. The three Twenty20 internationals will be played on February 11, 13 and 14, all in Lahore.