Johannesburg [South Africa], December 30 (ANI): South Africa head coach Mark Boucher said that pacer Kagiso Rabada will not be an automatic selection for the second Test against Sri Lanka despite being medically cleared for the right adductor muscle strain injury.
Rabada was added to South Africa's Test squad on Monday. He missed the Boxing Day Test against Sri Lanka which the hosts won by an innings and 45 runs.
"Because his name is Kagiso Rabada, we would want to play him but we've got to manage his loads. He is coming back from injury so we will just monitor his progress," ESPNcricinfo quoted Boucher as saying.
South Africa also hope to have Beuran Hendricks back in the squad after he was withdrawn last week, alongside Keegan Petersen.
"Beuran is going through medical protocols to come into the bubble. He has needed to have one or two Covid tests as well as checking what his antibody tests are," Boucher said.
"The guys we are looking to get in are only to cover for injury. We need cover especially for bowlers because we have had one or two niggles. A player has to be injured in order to be replaced. If there is no injury to a batter then no batter can come into the bubble," he added.
According to Boucher, Rabada's workload has to be managed so that he should not get injured. Rabada has not played a Test since January, against England in Port Elizabeth, and has not played any first-class cricket this summer.
"Sometimes with bowlers you just want to play a guy for the sake of playing him because he is your top bowler and you need to consider his workloads, from a mental side, from a physical side. You've got to take the emotion out of it and make a smart cricketing decision. Say for a guy like KG, we want to play him all the time, but he has got to get his workloads up [or] there is a high risk of him getting injured. Then we would be doing an injustice, not just to himself but to ourselves," Boucher said.
Rabada was leading the pace-attack for Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League along with teammate Anrich Nortje.
"It's very difficult in these times to prepare. We haven't had a lot of cricket - games have been postponed or cancelled. We are having to think out of the box continuously to try and get our workloads up in order to bowl 20 overs a day. It's easier for batters to work on their fitness. You can do shuttles. But, it's difficult to bowl 20 overs in your back garden. You have to try to simulate a game situation," Boucher said.
"You might have to bowl 10 overs in the morning and then come back in the afternoon and bowl another 10 overs, and while you are busy waiting you walk around the field, and that is trying to simulate what you would do in a game. You can't put guys in cotton wool and just have them bowl six overs and think they are ready for a Test match. You can't just say to a guy rock up and bowl 20 overs now. You've got to build him up so if you do want to push him, his body can handle it," he added.
The second and final Test of the series will be played at Wanderers Stadium from January 3, 2021. (ANI)