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Saturday, July 20, 2024
Mark Boucher

Mark Boucher

Age 47South AfricaSOUTH AFRICA
Right Handed Wicket Keeper

In Mark Boucher, South Africa trusts. Not just as replacement of Gilchrist-standards for Dave Richardson, but as one of the finest finishers of cricket innings. It’s hard to oust one over the other – being the game’s most successful man behind the sticks or the countless, unsung roles played with Klusener and Rhodes in the heyday to put teams to sword. Had it not been for the mesmerizing Gilchrist, the workman like Boucher wouldn’t be overshadowed.

As a lower middle-order batsman, Boucher was symbolic of how traditionally deep South Africa have always batted. While not a holder of startling averages, he’s a product of well played cameos. His career highlight came in 2006 when playing Australia; Boucher scored the winning runs in what is regarded as the greatest ODI ever played, when his team successfully chased the then-record ODI score of 434, quickly refreshing record-books. However, it was disappointing to see a cricketer of his calibre being dropped, when in 2010, Boucher played his last ODI and was not included thereafter, even in the World Cup that followed. But in 2011, a freak injury to their regular wicket-keeper AB de Villiers announced his comeback to the one-day side for South Africa's series against Australia. In the Indian T20 league, Boucher started off in 2009 by playing for Bengaluru before Kolkata bagged him in the next season.

Through it all, his performance behind the wicket became unbeatable after initially struggling with the role. With the help of the then coach Bob Woolmer, he put in extra shifts to hone the skill. It’s part of the reason why Boucher plays second fiddle to gifted talents such as Adam Gilchrist, Andy Flower, and later MS Dhoni. Never a natural, he’s a product of hard-work and dedication, two qualities that have epitomized South Africa through trying times. In 2012, Boucher injured his left eye in a freak accident on a tour match before the England series, and hence announced his retirement from all forms of the game.

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