Mark Boucher, South African head coach revealed Thursday that he had been a victim of coronavirus without knowing he had contracted the disease.
Mark Boucher was speaking ahead of limited-overs series against England, which starts with the first Twenty20 international in Cape Town on November 27.
Mark Boucher Didn’t Know He Had Contracted The Virus After Feeling Some Pain While Training
An unnamed South African player tested positive for Covid-19 when the South Africans assembled for training on Wednesday. He and two others, with whom the infected player had come in close contact, have been separated from the rest of the squad and will stay in isolation besides being monitored by the team’s medical staff.
Cricket South Africa said in a statement that all three players were asymptomatic. Mark Boucher said he sympathized with the affected players while adding that he was fortunate enough to have a mild coronavirus.
“Sitting alone in a room for six or seven days is very tough,” said Boucher, adding that he had been fortunate to have had a mild dose of the disease.
“I didn’t even know I had it,” he said. “I felt a little down for one or two days. I had been throwing down to some players in the nets and felt some aches and pains.”
“Covid is bigger than sport,” said Boucher.
He said that after receiving a call from South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, the players would be under a period of mourning after coronavirus crisis as he expected the nation’s flags to be at half-mast during the first two matches in honour of victims of coronavirus and gender-based violence. It was possible that players would wear black armbands too to acknowledge the same.
Mark Boucher Happy With Outcome And Wants To Put Behind Racism Issues
But Mark Boucher indicated that it was unlikely players would “take a knee” like a previous instance where they did so in a three-team domestic match in July. South Africa and England will play against each other in 3 T20Is and as many ODIs from 27th November.
South African players, match officials, administrators and commentators, including director of cricket Graeme Smith, had taken the knee besides wearing black arm-bands with the Black Lives Matter logo on it at the ‘3TCricket’ match in Centurion for the Solidarity Cup on July 12.
“It’s not something we have to continue to show, it’s something that we have to live.”
Mark Boucher said he welcomed the series against England after a challenging winter season during which Covid-19, boardroom battles and controversy over racism grabbed the spotlight.
“We have to put that behind us. We are in a position to put some good news in South African cricket,” he said. “We had some tough issues to deal with,” he said of a ‘culture camp’ in August, held at a time when fissures in race relations in South African cricket were exposed.
Mark Boucher said he was happy with the outcome of the camp as they started afresh in their quest to perform well since the retirement of veterans AB De Villiers and Morne Morkel.
“We have started afresh and restructured our values,” he said. “It is all based on performance. We want to be nice and aggressive, but we need to be smart.”
Mark Boucher said he was not concerned about being in a “bio-bubble” following stringent measures in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis until the series ends on December 9.
“We’ve been on tours where there have been security issues which have meant we have had to stay in our hotels.
“We are in a fantastic hotel with lots of open space and we have spoken to other teams that have been in bubbles.”
Playing international matches with no spectators would be an unusual experience, “but there will be no lack of passion and we know that people will be watching us,” Mark Boucher added.
South Africa will be led by Quinton De Kock and will consist of pacer Kagiso Rabada who was the leading wicket-taker and purple cap holder in recently concluded IPL 2020.
Apart from him, several players who played IPL like Anrich Nortje, Lungi Ngidi, Quinton De Kock, David Miller and Faf Du Plessis are in the squad. England’s duo of Jofra Archer and Ben Stokes have been rested for ODI, but included in T20I squads.