‘Bubble life, unrest back home affected performance during Ireland ODI series’

South African cricket coach Mark Boucher has said that the loss to Ireland in the second One-Day International on July 13 was due to the pressures of being in the bio-bubble for a long time and anxiety over violence rocking his country.

After the opening match of the ODI series was abandoned due of rain, Ireland won the second tie by 43 runs, before South Africa came back to equalise the series 1-1 with a 70-run victory on Friday (July 16).

“We weren’t there the other day. Our awareness was down; our intensity was down,” Boucher said of the match his team lost on July 13.

“We looked at quite a few things without making excuses. We had a long chat after the game and we said, ‘Guys we are in a position where we can’t afford to make excuses. You are playing for your country and you have to be up every game,'” Boucher was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.

The former South African cricketer said that the long bio-bubble life in the Caribbean and very little recovery time before the Ireland series had contributed to the uninspiring show in the second ODI.

“I have to look at the reasons why we were flat. It could be that coming off a good win against the West Indian team — usually you get a bit of time to take that in and get away for a while — maybe a week or two and we didn’t have that opportunity. As soon as we got that win, guys were packing and we got onto a plane and we flew for two days and got back into another bubble,” Boucher said.

On Friday, the South African cricketers took the field for the third ODI wearing black armbands to show solidarity with the victims of violence in Gauteng and Kwa-Zuly Natal provinces back home. More than 200 people have died in the unrest.

“To say it’s not affecting us is not true. It is affecting us and every South African,” said Boucher.

“Today we came out and showed when we put our minds to it and we play with good energy, we were there but when the game was sort of won, we took our foot of the gas again, which was a bit disappointing. We didn’t end off the game as we wanted to.”