Boucher hopes SA IPL contingent will help with 'bits of information' on UAE
Mark Boucher hopes his Proteas Indian Premier League (IPL) contingent will feed the team with important information on conditions in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where five of his T20 World Cup-bound squad members will be involved in the conclusion of the league.
Anrich Nortjé, David Miller, Kagiso Rabada, Quinton de Kock and new IPL kid on the block Aiden Markram flew out of Colombo immediately after the Proteas concluded their six-match limited-overs series in Sri Lanka with a crushing victory to seal the T20 series 3-0, having lost the ODIs 2-1.
The five players will link up with Proteas teammate Lungi Ngidi in Dubai for the completion of the IPL, scheduled to be held in UAE from September 19 to October 15.
“We've spoken to the guys going off to the IPL that they need to stay disciplined. We realise that we want to peak at the right time as a unit,” said Boucher after guiding the Proteas to a third consecutive T20 away series win.
“There are a couple of things that I've spoken to individuals about that they can maybe work on, but it is more about picking up any bits of information about playing in those kinds of conditions.
“I think it's going to get them ready for big tournaments.”
There will be six South Africans when the IPL rolls back into action on Sunday at the Dubai International Stadium, where Ngidi will run out for Chennai Super Kings against De Kock’s Mumbai Indians.
Miller is expected to feature for the Rajasthan Royals on Tuesday against Markram's Punjab Kings, also in Dubai, while Rabada and his table-topping Delhi Capitals will wrap up the first round of the resumption of the IPL on Wednesday.
Boucher was pleased for Markram, who became the latest South African to secure an IPL contract when the Punjab Kings snapped him up this week.
“I think it is a great opportunity for Aiden. He has shown that he has grown a hell of a lot in his game, with the different options he has now got.
“So I think it is going to be a great experience for him,” said Boucher.
The IPL was suspended in May after several players and backroom staff tested positive for Covid-19 amid a devastating second wave in India.
There will be 11 South Africans involved in the remaining 31 matches of the competition, which will be compressed into 27 days.
Former captains AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Marco Jansen and Chris Morris are the other players.
Though they are not part of Boucher's World Cup squad, they are his former players and teammates and their IPL experience and knowledge of the conditions will be available to the Proteas coach too.
“I’m not too sure who will play in which games,” Boucher said.
“We have seen in the IPL that a lot of guys get picked but they don’t get to play a lot of cricket.
“But I think if they manage themselves well and get some good time in the nets and make use of those facilities, it will stand us in good stead.”
Dubai will host the majority of the matches followed by Sharjah, while Abu Dhabi will see the least action.
Boucher’s team will face off against Australia in their opening World Cup match in Abu Dhabi on October 23 and play champions the West Indies in Dubai three days later.
The Proteas also play in Sharjah against a yet-to-be determined World Cup qualifier on October 30 and against England on November 6.
The selectors selected three specialist spinners in the 15-member World Cup squad. Aiden Markram's off spin takes the number of spinners to four.
With conditions expected to be dry and flat, and to take spin, Boucher will need to balance his slower bowlers with a pace attack.
“I think we will have a look at the conditions and have a look at a few combinations we have got,” he said.
“It is more like playing the conditions and we believe we have got the players to put out successful combinations.”