Boucher doubts Proteas can sacrifice Maharaj for second Test

31 December 2020 - 12:16
South Africa coach Mark Boucher.
South Africa coach Mark Boucher.
Image: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Proteas coach Mark Boucher has hinted that SA will not go with an all-seam attack during the second and final Test against Sri Lanka at the Wanderers Stadium on Sunday.

SA are leading the two-match series 1-0 after a thumping innings and 45-run win over Sri Lanka in Centurion on Tuesday‚ where former captain Faf du Plessis was named man-of-the-match for his knock of 199.

The big talking point going into the Johannesburg Test is who between Keshav Maharaj and Lutho Sipamla will be sacrificed if premier bowler Kagiso 'KG' Rabada is declared fit for the match.

Rabada missed the win in Centurion as he is recovering from a right abductor muscle strain injury and Boucher said it would be unwise to go into a Test match without a spinner.

“I am not a big fan of going into a Test match without a spinner because I think it’s very dangerous‚” said Boucher.

“We saw during this game against Sri Lanka that if we didn’t have a spinner we would have struggled even more. If you look at all the venues around the country‚ spinners have really done well in franchise cricket. I doubt if we will go without Kesh [Maharaj].

Though he didn’t want to commit himself regarding the make-up of his bowling attack‚ Boucher was forthright when it came to the batters.

“We have just scored over 600 runs‚ why would you want to change our batting order. Guys who have gone out there and performed deserve their spots again.

“In Test cricket you wait for your opportunity — there are very good batters who are waiting in the wings for their opportunities. We will keep on working on them so that when opportunities arise they are ready.

“For now‚ I think everyone will agree that it is not going to be easy to be chopping and changing the batting order. We have been through some tough times together of late but we will take this 600 and keep on working going forward.

“There is a big Test series against Pakistan and Australia in the coming months‚ so there is no time to start experimenting here and there.”

Boucher indicated that Cobras batsman Keegan Petersen will only come back into the reckoning if there is an injury to a batter.

“Regarding Keegan‚ at this stage there are no injuries to any of the batters and we are not allowed to bring in any replacements because of the agreed protocols. In order for him to come in and be considered‚ there will have to be an injury to one of our batters‚” the coach said.

“There was a medical protocol that was agreed between the two teams that if there was an injury in the squad then we could replace from the outside getting them into the bio-secure environment.

“We have had one or two injuries with regards to our bowlers‚ that’s why KG and Beuran Hendricks are here.

“Beuran had to do one or two Covid-19 and blood tests regarding his antibodies and I think he passed those. He will probably be within our bubble in the next couple of days.”