Mark Boucher. File photo: GALLO IMAGES/BERTRAM MALGAS
Mark Boucher. File photo: GALLO IMAGES/BERTRAM MALGAS

Cricket SA will introduce fitness clauses into players’ contracts in the future in a bid to set minimum standards for selection, national team coach Mark Boucher says.

It follows a special fitness camp for four players held in January that cast their international futures in doubt, as well as fears that a strict 21-day lockdown in SA could leave a number of other players below the required standard.

All-rounders Sisanda Magala and Jon-Jon Smuts, spinner Tabraiz Shamsi and fast bowler Lungi Ngidi were all placed in what was termed a special “high-performance fitness and conditioning camp”.

With SA in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has led to a clampdown on exercising outside the house, Boucher says players will have to take responsibility for maintaining their fitness levels.

“Guys need to keep up their fitness because we will be inserting new fitness clauses in contracts,” Boucher confirmed via an audio statement released by Cricket SA.

“In the recent past we have seen that players who are not fit enough don’t get selected. They are professionals and they need to do what they have to do.”

The Proteas were recalled early from a limited-overs tour of India in March over fears over the coronavirus, but Boucher believes that, so far, their plans have not been disrupted to a great degree by the lockdown.

“The plan was always to give the guys some time off to spend with the family. It also gives them the chance to get over a few niggles.

“The first two or three weeks is always key, to refresh physically and mentally. We have put in some programmes over the house for the guys to keep them fit and strong. They need to keep their discipline. There will be testing after the lockdown period.”

SA’s next assignment is scheduled to be a limited-overs tour to Sri Lanka in June.

Reuters