Mark Boucher retires July 11, 2012

Boucher thanked for his service

ESPNcricinfo staff

Jacques Faul, CSA's acting chief executive, has paid tribute to Mark Boucher's "wonderful contribution" to the South Africa team after the wicketkeeper's enforced retirement from international cricket. Boucher was expected to step away from South Africa duty at the end of the tour of England but sustained an eye injury during the tour match at Somerset that has hastened his exit.

He retires with a world record 998 international dismissals as a wicketkeeper, including 555 in 147 Tests, leaving South Africa facing a quandary as to his successor for the Test series against England that will decide the No. 1 ranking.

"It is sad indeed that Mark Boucher's retirement from international cricket has had to be announced under such untimely circumstances," Faul said. "We were all looking forward to the contribution he was going to make to the Test series in England and the challenge for the World No. 1 ranking and to salute him on achieving the landmark of 150 Test matches.

"I would like to thank him on behalf of the entire South African cricket family for the wonderful contribution he has made to the success of the Proteas over a period of 15 years. For 14 of those years he has been our first-choice wicketkeeper and has also captained the Proteas in both Test matches and the ODI format."

Faul also praised Boucher's contributions as a batsman, which included scoring the fastest ODI century by a South African, as well as the "moral leadership" he demonstrated in the wake of the fixing scandal involving Hansie Cronje that rocked the country.

"His terrier-like tenacity has always been the hallmark of his game and he has always been the consummate professional as well," Faul said. "He was always up in the forefront of team training sessions and this was once again the case during the recent training camp in Switzerland.

"But the greatest testimony to his character came during the King Commission of Enquiry in 2000 when he was the recently appointed vice-captain of the Proteas in the wake of the demise of Hansie Cronje. At the conclusion of his evidence to the King Commission, the Counsel for Cricket South Africa, Mr Jeremy Gauntlett SC, stated the following and I quote directly: 'The United Cricket Board of South Africa will always be grateful for the moral leadership its vice-captain has shown at this time'."

Tony Irish, the South African Cricketers' Association chief executive, added that he had received message from players' associations around the world wanting to acknowledge Boucher's impact on the game. "This is an indication of the mark he made with players all over the world," Irish said.

"From a players' association point of view I want to thank Mark for his contribution to the players' cause," Irish added. "From the early days of SACA, Bouch was always in the forefront of standing up for players' rights. He never shied away from a challenge. He is a former president of our organisation who was elected by the players. He has been a true professional, on and off the field.

"We in South Africa love to see warriors and fighters in our national teams. Mark epitomised that for so many people. He has been the 'bull terrier' for longer than most of us can remember. From the past, present and future players of South Africa, thank you Mark Boucher."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on July 13, 2012, 23:04 GMT

    I think it was Boucher that coined the term A.B.S. for 'after bat swing' here in England, something that (presumably, unless S.A. go for the 'new' bloke) AB will have to deal with. As an England supporter I am hoping that keeping will affect AB's batting as much as Sanga's when he keeps. It will be tough enough anyway facing the likes of Anderson under the grey skies of this year's U.K. 'summer', without the added task of keeping for long (hopefully VERY long-as an Englishman) periods'. That said, I still feel-especially after seeing what Aus. have to 'offer' these days (albeit only in ODIs)-that S.A ARE the most exciting challengers. Australia's bowlers couldn't exploit the favourable conditions like the England lads, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the S.A seamers WILL provide the toughest opposition in these conditions of any team in world cricket-BRING IT ON SAFFERS!!!! Let's have a fine series worthy of a no.1 v no.2 test team battle! :D May the best team triumph!

  • Dummy4 on July 12, 2012, 16:58 GMT

    Just think-he could've had a 1000 dismissals if he had taken THOSE catches off Donald's bowling V England at the start of his career ;) I'll never forget Alan's face-nor Mark's sheepish and young one! Became a real warrior tho-sad news for cricket!

  • Naresh on July 12, 2012, 16:50 GMT

    Come on the story clearly...cricinfo has said 998 as "wicket Keeper"....anyway...all the best for your future plans Boucher...

  • Dummy4 on July 12, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    Please post about latest condition of boucher's eye.

  • Ahmed on July 12, 2012, 14:03 GMT

    i think its time for the wicket keepers to wear helmet and protective glasses all through the game. this should be a law.

  • Dummy4 on July 12, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    wish you all the best to the greatest wicket keeper of all time

  • Saad on July 12, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    A salute to one to the best cricketers of all times... wish you well and hope you get well soon... i thnk the CSA and ECB should rename the current test series in tribute to boucher...

  • Nikhil on July 12, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    mark and gilly the best wkt keepers in the cricket world.

  • Dummy4 on July 12, 2012, 8:31 GMT

    Get well soon... we want to see u in ground... All the best for ur future

  • Dummy4 on July 12, 2012, 1:04 GMT

    It was 998 as a wicket keeper and only one as a fielder

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