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SA coach will ease players into action

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The enlarged squad of 24 was deliberately picked to allow for a couple of inter-squad matches which will assist in getting the players into limited-overs rhythm.

Proteas players during the training session at the Six Gun Grill Newlands Stadium. Picture: Phando Jikelo, African News Agency (ANA)

ENGLAND will provide a tough examination for a group of players who for the most part have only just started playing competitively after an eight-month Covid-19 enforced break. The handful of players who did participate in the IPL will be absolutely vital in helping to get the others, who were based locally and played a couple of rounds of four-day matches, up to speed.

The enlarged squad of 24 was deliberately picked to allow for a couple of inter-squad matches which will assist in getting the players into limited-overs rhythm.

England’s players, meanwhile, are battle-hardened, having had a full domestic summer of international cricket, while many of their players also participated in the IPL. In fact, they are at the stage where they are looking to give key players breaks, with Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes and Sam Curran all missing the ODI series as part of a workload management programme.

South Africa will do the same, said Boucher.

“There will be a lot of cricket in the next six months, a lot of time away from home, and we will be going from (bio) bubble to bubble, so that’s going to be telling, especially on the mental side. We are going to have to rest players along the way, which is in a sense exciting, to give others an opportunity.”

Already there’s an awareness about keeping Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortjé fresh after their exertions in the IPL and they’re unlikely to play all six matches against England.

“We actually started doing it with KG last season, and then because of Covid he got that extended break and we’ve seen the value of having a player like that fresh,” said Boucher.