MARK BOUCHER

MARK BOUCHER

Mark Verdon Boucher, the former gloveman  and present Head Coach of South Africa celebrates his 44th Birthday today 3rd December, 2020.  A perfect definition of a hard worker, relentless fighter and at times an aggressive player.

Relive this :  “ Jou ma Se 434. We’ll just score even more “ Carried the headline of a Bi-lingual tabloid in South Africa on 13th March, 2006 the day after the match. 

And the Event is :  The Proteas chasing a record total of 434 against the visiting Australians in 2006 at the Wanderers, Johannesburg.

“ In the years to come everyone will know where they were as Boucher slammed the winning runs” was the general refrain of the crowd. 

And Herschelle Herman Gibbs set the tone for the record chase blasting his way to a 175 runs and suddenly there was a rush of blood and the Proteas were in a spot of bother. And here, Mark Boucher stepped into the act of finishing with just one ball to spare with the last man Ntini at the other end. He hit the winning run with his half century.  The Proteas with this win could also won the series by 3-2. 

People in the crowd wept, unable to cope with the frenzied atmosphere and couldn’t believe they were there at the greatest one-day ever.  Tony Greig, back in his homeland, who was commentating, choked back with emotion.  He loves seeing Australians beaten by any team. 

 A taxi driver stopped picking up passengers, and a newspaper reporter working day and night sending reports, texting as the adrenaline was soaring in the stadium. There was a national celebration in the Rainbow Nation.

EARLY DAYS 

Boucher made his first class debut in 1995-96 for the Proteas and by a freak accident he made his debut in international cricket in playing a Test at Sheikhpura, Pakistan on Oct.17, 1997 when the regular wicket keeper Dave Richardson was injured at the last minute.  And then had to wait for a brief period before he had to earn national colours.  He had to force himself into reckoning into the national team with a record breaking 9th wicket partnership of 185 runs with Pat Symcox in the very next test at Johannesburg in 1998  to stake a permanent berth in the South African team. 

And 75 tests at a trot , he was the main fulcrum of the Proteas team before he was dropped for Indian tour in 2004 for a brief 4 tests and after that he never looked back till his retirement again a freak accident forced him to retire.  When he was playing in a tour game against Somerset in the 2012 England  series of the Proteas, their ace spinner Imran Tahir bowled a Somerset’s batsman and the bail hit him on his eyes as he was not wearing a helmet or glasses.  He was rushed to the hospital for surgery and he called it quits from International cricket. 

WICKET KEEPING

IN TESTS

His exploits behind the wickets for the South Africans was unparalleled as he went on to create more records for himself and for the country.  In his fourth test at Port of Elizabeth in 1998 against Pakistan , he made a mark  behind the wickets by snatching 6 catches and helped his team to win over Pakistan and  his next stop in England in 1998 he had 26 dismissals including one stumping was a fantastic achievement.   In the very first year of selection in 1998, a record of 65 catches and 2 stumpings behind the wickets  in TESTS was a testament of his wicket keeping ability.  

IN ODIs

In One day games he has a record of 403 catches and 22 stumpings.  Some of his best keeping exploits are :

  • 5 catches in Feb.2000 at Johannesburg Vs England in a low key match
  • 5 catches in April , 2000 Vs Australia
  • 5 catches On 6 November, 2005

He was involved in 3 World cups and did a decent job.

HEAD COACH JOB

During last year, there was turmoil in Cricket South Africa (CSA) board.CSA Board to step down in the wake of a full blown crisis  involving management , player and media relations and of course financial affairs.   And as an antidote, there was a revamp in the helm of CSA. As a first step Greame Smith , former captain was appointed as Director and he was given the task of appointing new coaches.  And Smith chose Mark Boucher as Head coach, who with his vast experience as wicket keeper and having played 147 Tests . Greame Smith and Boucher  both legends who played together for over 75 matches, were given the task of rebuilding and gaining the confidence of the public.  

And the results are encouraging as there was a change of guard in the Captainship.  Faf was retained as Captain in the Test and for the shorter formats the present wicket keeper batsman Quinton de Kock was chosen to head.

“England are a  step ahead of not only us, but quite a few different teams in world cricket,” Boucher said, after the team’s defeat in the third T20 at Newlands”. A candid statement indeed conceding the general refrain among the Coaching staff.

BOUCHER’s UNENVIABLE RECORDS

Format  Matches  Runs  Average   100s   HS     Catches    Stumpings 

 Tests       147       5515     30.30        5       125      532            23

  ODIs       295      4686     28.57         1       147      403           22

T20Is          25        268                       –          36        18              1

He also played in IPL for 4 seasons from 2008.

  • Quickest 100 dismissals in International cricket
  • Most innings without conceding bye
  • 75 tests continuous appearance
  • Second top score as a Night watchman with 125 runs in Tests
  • 2nd fastest century in ODIs( off 44 balls)

His  532 catches is a world record in Tests and still holds good.

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