Proteas tour to West Indies possibly off the table, says Boucher

Proteas team director Mark Boucher is not convinced the West Indies tour scheduled for the end of July is going to take place.

The West Indies are engaged in a three-Test Wisden Trophy series against England‚ with the first Test taking place at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.

The third Test of that series starts on July 24 in Manchester‚ which would be the second day of the first Test between SA and the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago.

As a non-contact sport‚ cricket has been granted a return to play and a training dispensation by the department of sport‚ arts & culture under the level 3 lockdown regulations.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) still has to meet to decide how the rest of the Future Tours Programme will look, with the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Men’s T20 World Cup still up in the air. Boucher said these decisions will affect SA’s travels and India’s slated visit to these shores at the end of August.

“I don’t know if those tours are going to go ahead or if they’ve been officially cancelled. It doesn’t look likely that we’ll be going ahead with those tours. Things are up in the air. We’re waiting for a couple of teams to get back to us and we’re also waiting for the ICC for the IPL announcement‚” Boucher said.

“We’ve planned as much as we can‚ but we’ll have to roll with the punches and see when the ICC makes the announcements. The IPL is a big tournament and I think they may try to have it at the end of the year. Hopefully we can start working on that‚ but it doesn’t look likely that we’ll go to the West Indies.”

While most of the cricket focus will shift to Saturday’s 3 Team Cricket tournament at SuperSport Park‚ it is understood training camps and inter-squad games are in the pipeline for the national team at a date to be announced. A 45-man high-performance squad consisting of most franchise and international players was announced recently.

Some of those players will take part in Saturday’s match and Boucher admitted that most of the players will not be firing at 100%.

Boucher has, however, been impressed with the fitness of the players even though there has not been any cricket since the March shutdown. 

“We have to understand where we are now with regards to where the players are fitness-wise. We haven’t had game time.

“There’s Saturday’s tournament for the Solidarity Cup‚ but I don’t expect our guys to be at 100%‚ even though there have been a couple of net sessions. If they’re at 80%‚ it’s understandable‚” Boucher said.

“The guys are looking good and very strong. It’s difficult to work on your fitness. I understand the guys can’t go to the gym‚ but they have been finding a way and we’ve been driving home that message.”

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