South African cricketers could avoid the customary handshakes after matches during their tour of India, head coach Mark Boucher said as the number of reported coronavirus cases in the country crossed 40 on Monday.

The number of positive cases in India stands at 43 at the moment and the South African team that landed in the national capital for three One-Day Internationals on Monday will “strictly adhere” to the healthcare protocols.

“With regards to handshakes and the type of stuff that’s a concern, so it will probably be fine if we do the same if it comes to that. I think it’s a way to stop anything from happening to our guys,” Boucher told the media during his pre-departure press conference when asked about shaking hands with the opposition team’s players.

“I think it’s out of respect for players around you and not to pass on something that you might have,” the former Proteas stumper added.

South Africa went ahead with the tour only after their medical and security team gave a go-ahead after doing a risk assessment.

“Look, we have a security staff and if we have medical concerns, we give it to them and they come up with recommendations. If they think it’s too dangerous, they will pull us out and they are no different. Covid-19 is a concern and that’s what they have been briefed,” he said.

“We had a nice brief last night from the medical staff about the virus going around and that it’s a major concern. We are not medical people and we don’t know medicine like they do. So we have taken their recommendations and I am sure they have put stuff in places that’s going to help us.”

‘Du Plessis’ experience will help’

Former skipper Faf du Plessis’ long experience of playing in IPL and international cricket in India will come in handy during the upcoming three-match ODI series, feels South Africa head coach Mark Boucher.

“If you go to a place like India, you need to find a balance between youth and experience. I think Faf is really doing well in ODI cricket for South Africa. The last time he played, he got a hundred. He knows the Indian conditions very well,” Boucher said during the team’s pre-departure press conference on Sunday.

The South African team reached India on Monday morning and will take a chartered flight to Dharamsala on Tuesday.

Boucher feels that having Du Plessis also means he will have some selection headaches, which is a good thing to have.

“It’s a good headache to have. Just him being around the squad will add a lot of value and experience as well. We will look at conditions and then put together combinations. Why you would want to have Faf is because he has done really well in those (Indian) conditions.”

While South Africa lost the T20 series 1-2 to Australia, they blanked the visitors 3-0 in the ODIs, which gives them confidence going into the series against India.

“T20s are important this year given we have the T20 World Cup. But in general, Proteas and Cricket South Africa, we need to find ourselves growing. We have just beaten a very good team now. We needed confidence and it will certainly give us a lot of confidence.”

The former wicketkeeper said that Indian conditions will be tough for a lot of visiting players, who will be touring the country for the first time.

“India is going to be a tough test. Different conditions. Lot of guys haven’t played a lot of cricket in India as well. What’s impressive is they have responded to the messages we have sent out to them on batting and bowling perspectives,” he said.