Following the completion of the Pakistan series, South Africa doesn’t have any Test cricket coming up in the next nine months after Australia on Tuesday decided to postpone their tour citing “unacceptable health and safety risk” in that country because of a fresh COVID-19 outbreak.
“When we get back after this tour we’ve got a bit of time before our next Test series so we can sit down and make a good, solid call on who can take over from him and release him from that burden and try and get the best out of him,” Boucher said on the eve of the final Test here.
De Kock, who was handed the Test captaincy on a temporary basis for the 2020-21 summer, hasn’t been in good form, scoring just 15 and 2 in the two innings as they suffered a seven-wicket loss in the first Test against Pakistan.
“It’s been tough on Quinny. If you’re not scoring runs it gets highlighted, especially if you’re a captain,” Boucher was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
“We’re not that harsh on Quinny in this environment. We know that he’s a quality player and there’s a good innings around the corner for him. He has been given the extra burden of being captain and that can be tough and something he’s not used to.”
Australia have received a lot of flak for postponing their tour with former England cricketers Michael Vaughan and Kevin Pietersen questioning their decision.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) too had slammed their Australian counterparts for postponing the Test tour, saying it is “extremely” disappointing and will lead to “serious financial loss”.
Boucher said “it’s no different for the players.”
“I know there was a lot of planning going into the Australian tour back home. We haven’t really been a part of that, but it seems a lot of goalposts were being moved for that particular tour, for Australia,” Boucher said.
“For example, the one positive that came out of the bubble against Sri Lanka was the hotel that we stayed at (Irene County Club). We thought it was a great hotel for us as South Africans. It suits our needs and the cultural way that we are, being outdoors.”
“And we even surrendered that to Australia. There’s probably a feeling that we were laying down the red carpet for Australia, which is frustrating at times. After all of that, it’s very disappointing and disruptive to our plans going forward.”
South Africa are also scheduled to play three T20Is beginning February 11 against Pakistan and they had already planned to send their Test players after the second Test, keeping in mind the quarantine rules ahead of the Australia series.
A second-string South Africa squad also arrived in Pakistan for the T20 series but South Africa will continue with their original plan of sending few Test players and support staff home.
“Myself, (bowling coach) Charl Langveldt and (media manager) Sipokazi Sokanyile will be staying over and looking after the T20 squad. It’s not ideal,” Boucher said.
“There’s been a lot of planning that’s gone into the two tours, and going back and quarantining for Australia. So the planning was all there.
“We were told at a very late moment that this wasn’t going to happen. It’s difficult for us to suddenly turn around when there’s a T20 series around the corner.”