PAK v SA 2021: “We’re confident of team’s safety in Pakistan,” says SA coach Mark Boucher

South Africa’s head coach Mark Boucher is confident of the team’s security in Pakistan, where they will be going after 14 years. He said that South Africa cricket’s security guys did a recce in Pakistan and found it to be safe to travel.

South Africa didn’t travel to Pakistan after 2007 after the Sri Lanka team was attacked by militants in 2009 and some of their players suffered bullet wounds.

“We’ve had our (security) guys go there and do a recce of the situation and they have said it is safe. So from my side, there are no issues, we have to get back there and start playing cricket,” Boucher told reporters ahead of the team’s departure.

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It will be a nostalgic return for Boucher, who had made his Test debut in Sheikhupura in 1997, and went onto play 147 Tests, 295 ODIs, and 25 T20Is for South Africa till 2012, affecting 999 dismissals in international cricket.

“It is tough but different to India and Sri Lanka, where it (the ball) turns. Pakistan is more conducive to fast bowling. Reverse swing was very big, though regulations are tighter these days on how you can work on the ball. They are historically flat wickets. The areas you score as a batsman are different. If you apply yourself there are a lot of runs out there,” he said.

The head coach of the Proteas team also said that he wanted to regain the services of former teammate-turned-coach Jacques Kallis for the South African team, as a batting consultant. Kallis is currently in Sri Lanka, having signed a deal with England team on a short-term basis.

Cricket South Africa did not take up the option of retaining Kallis’ services last year, citing transformation targets, but Boucher hopes a new board may bring changes to that policy.

“He is on my radar in terms of trying to get him back involved in the set-up. I hope we treat him with care as he has shown he has a lot of other opportunities in world cricket. He is a massive loss but I know Jacques would love to be working in South African cricket. The knowledge he has needs to be utilized,” Boucher said.   

(Reuters inputs)

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