March 5, 2012

And it's goodbye from Mark

A decade and a half after he first started playing for South Africa, Boucher is ready to hang up his boots
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This year Mark Boucher will be home for Christmas.

The thought made him smile. "I'm looking forward to the normal life. I can stay at home for a while and do normal things with my mates and my family. I haven't spent a Christmas at home for 15 years so it will be nice to do that," he said. "It's sad times but good times ahead."

Sad because after a decade and a half of dominating the South African wicketkeeper's role, Boucher is calling it a day - probably after the England series in July. Good because in that time he has built a record that could easily take twice as long to break. Good because he has been part of a South Africa side that has conquered home and away for years and, by the time he retires, could be the No. 1 Test side in the world. Definitely more good than sad, then.

"If it's my time to go then it's my time to go," he said. "If I'm not performing then I'm not performing. If there is a guy that's the same standard as me but he is ten years younger, then I understand that he is going to get the opportunity."

The truth, of course, is that Boucher does not want to say goodbye. Although he has realised he may have no choice, his eyes betray his heart. Usually a fireworks display of feistiness, fight and fervour, his blues were not quite as bright as they usually are when he stood outside the Wanderers change room after the final first-class match of the South African season, which he played in for the Cobras.

His national team-mates had already left for New Zealand, where they went on to win the Twenty20 and ODI series - formats of the game Boucher is no longer part of in international cricket.

"In a perfect world I'd love to still be involved in one-day cricket," he said. "But I also understand Gary [Kirsten] and Andrew Hudson's plans. They are obviously trying to move forward and build for the next World Cup." It's a World Cup Boucher's long-time friend Jacques Kallis has targeted but that Boucher has had to shelve thoughts of taking part in.

Like another of his old mates Makhaya Ntini, he may continue to play franchise cricket. "It's been nice to come back to the Cobras, get some runs behind my name and just relax and enjoy the game for what it is. I've come to the realisation that everything is going to end sometime and I might as well really enjoy it. In the last two games, I started relaxing a bit more and going out there and playing my natural game."

Boucher was part of the Cobras side that topped the SuperSport series table until the final round, and he scored a century, his first in many months, in their draw with the Knights. The innings acted as a major reassurance that he still had the ability to perform with the bat after he endured his worst season since 1998 last year.

Boucher described it as "pretty hard". "This last little section was a big up and a big down," he said. "I had a really good Test match in Centurion [against Sri Lanka] and then I didn't keep too well in difficult conditions in Durban." Boucher scored his second half-century in six Tests and took eight catches in South Africa's innings win in that first match but fared poorly in their defeat in Durban, with bat and gloves.

He hoped the New Year's Test in Cape Town would buoy him, as it had in 2011, when he scored a career-prolonging fifty. "My confidence was really low going there but I was looking forward to bat on the flattest wicket that we've batted all summer, and then I didn't get a chance to bat," he said. "I dropped two sitters that I should have taken, and I probably would take every day of the week, but that's what pressure and lack of confidence does to you. A couple of other things creep into your head that shouldn't really be there, like what people are saying about you. You've got to take that stuff and hide it as best as you can."

Hiding it has always been Boucher's specialty even as he faced mounting criticism from the media and the public. Recently, though, it has started to affect him. "It gets to you mentally and that drags on to you physically as well," he said. "You keep trying so hard and you find yourself almost sinking. The harder you try, the deeper you go down.

"I've spoken to a lot of players who are coming to the end of the career and they said that naturally it starts to happen: you start to question - where am I going to go after this - and you start caring about what people are saying."

"A couple of other things creep into your head that shouldn't really be there, like what people are saying about you. You've got to take that stuff and hide it as best as you can"

His usually hard exterior has softened, especially when the people pointing fingers were those he respected. "I'm human. As much you can say don't let what commentators are saying and what past players are saying affect you, those are the people that, when they do say something, it probably sticks in your head a little bit," he said.

He has been seen seeking advice from various quarters. When he was asked to stand in for the injured AB de Villiers in the ODIs against Australia in October, he asked former South Africa coach Ray Jennings to fly to Durban to give him one-on-one coaching sessions. Before the Newlands against Sri Lanka, he was in many a conversation with Paddy Upton.

What eventually helped was getting away from the glare, in the first-class set-up, where the only people watching were a smattering of wives, cricket tragics and die-hard media, and he could simply find himself again.

It also allowed him to work with Richard Pybus, who coached him as a schoolboy at Selbourne College and at his first provincial team, Border. "Richard probably knows my game best because he has been there from the start," Boucher said, smiling when he realised he had come full circle. "Funny enough, at beginning of my career he was there and now at the end, he is there again."

It's an end that Boucher is now willing to speak about and a career he can reflect on comfortably. He recalled his original struggles with striking a balance between keeping and batting. "When I first started I was batter who could keep a bit. When I got picked for South Africa, Bob Woolmer said to me that I had to work on my keeping, so my batting took a bit of a dive," he said. "Then, once your keeping gets to a nice standard, you go back to your batting and maybe your keeping takes a bit of a dip. It is quite difficult to do both because keeping is a very strenuous job. What I can say is that usually if you bat well, you tend to keep well. If you go through a bit of a slump, the keeping also suffers, which can be quite tough in different conditions."

Some of the most difficult of those, he said, were in the West Indies. "Ian Healy said West Indies was the tour that probably killed him off. I can see why because the wickets are really tough to keep on."

He can also talk about the best times, knowing he helped South Africa achieve some of their highest highs. "[The series win in] Australia was fantastic, but for me, England," he said. "I was largely involved in the whole thing, especially at Edgbaston with that last partnership with Graeme [Smith]. That to me will stand out as my best Test series win." Boucher scored 40, and then an unbeaten 45 in a 112-run stand with Smith as South Africa chased down 281 to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the four-match series.

He says the Australians and the English have been the toughest opposition. "You know that you are in a serious battle against them and that's the way you enjoy it. When you perform in those matches, you feel really good about yourself as a player and as a person because you've overcome the hardships that those two sides can give to you."

Now the battle is reaching its end and Boucher wants to exit as a fighter. "Everyone's got a strategy that they'd like to leave at their own time. Ultimately, I want to end off playing my natural game. The way I started is the way I want to end."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY Busie1979 on | March 6, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    As far as his keeping goes, yes, he was very, very good. No question about it. I hardly ever would notice him - which is how you judge keepers. I would have loved to have watched him play with a quality spinner. I am sure he would have been exceptional.

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    One of the greatest keepers of all time...ur presence in the sqaud will be sorely missed...Moreover who can forget that boundary of the last ball off Brett lee to pull off a historic win for SA in that 438 record chase...Good luck Bouchie...Cricket world will miss u..!!!

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    One of the greatest keepers of all time...ur presence in the sqaud will be sorely missed...Moreover who can forget that boundary of the last ball off Brett lee to pull off a historic win for SA in that 438 record chase...Good luck Bouchie...Cricket world will miss u..!!!

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2012, 8:14 GMT

    Well payed Bouch. Thanks!

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    Boucher with Anglo German roots was the most determined player.Team above self. He was 100 percent committed.He was a cricketer of the highest class.We are going to miss him.

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | March 6, 2012, 2:44 GMT

    What a player. He knows it's better to retire while your dignity and honor is still intact. So unlike our pathetic GOD OF CRICKET.

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | March 6, 2012, 2:39 GMT

    Great cricketer and a wonderful sportsman. He knows when it's time to quit. Our SRT, Dravid and LAX can learn a lesson from him - it's better to Retire with Dignity.

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    SA say hi to AB for MB a great man is gone

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    one of the last few remaining Classic Wicketkeepers in the game, Adam Gilchrist and Mark Boucher have set the standard for wicketkeeping that i doubt will be broken, wish you all the best Mark.

  • POSTED BY JoseBautista on | March 5, 2012, 21:57 GMT

    what a guy!!!! feels like he's always been there!!! good luck man!!! from canada!!!

  • POSTED BY Busie1979 on | March 6, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    As far as his keeping goes, yes, he was very, very good. No question about it. I hardly ever would notice him - which is how you judge keepers. I would have loved to have watched him play with a quality spinner. I am sure he would have been exceptional.

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2012, 8:37 GMT

    One of the greatest keepers of all time...ur presence in the sqaud will be sorely missed...Moreover who can forget that boundary of the last ball off Brett lee to pull off a historic win for SA in that 438 record chase...Good luck Bouchie...Cricket world will miss u..!!!

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2012, 8:30 GMT

    One of the greatest keepers of all time...ur presence in the sqaud will be sorely missed...Moreover who can forget that boundary of the last ball off Brett lee to pull off a historic win for SA in that 438 record chase...Good luck Bouchie...Cricket world will miss u..!!!

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2012, 8:14 GMT

    Well payed Bouch. Thanks!

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2012, 7:16 GMT

    Boucher with Anglo German roots was the most determined player.Team above self. He was 100 percent committed.He was a cricketer of the highest class.We are going to miss him.

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | March 6, 2012, 2:44 GMT

    What a player. He knows it's better to retire while your dignity and honor is still intact. So unlike our pathetic GOD OF CRICKET.

  • POSTED BY Al_Bundy1 on | March 6, 2012, 2:39 GMT

    Great cricketer and a wonderful sportsman. He knows when it's time to quit. Our SRT, Dravid and LAX can learn a lesson from him - it's better to Retire with Dignity.

  • POSTED BY on | March 6, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    SA say hi to AB for MB a great man is gone

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    one of the last few remaining Classic Wicketkeepers in the game, Adam Gilchrist and Mark Boucher have set the standard for wicketkeeping that i doubt will be broken, wish you all the best Mark.

  • POSTED BY JoseBautista on | March 5, 2012, 21:57 GMT

    what a guy!!!! feels like he's always been there!!! good luck man!!! from canada!!!

  • POSTED BY Sane_Reasoning on | March 5, 2012, 21:09 GMT

    Wonderful keeper and a career that is nothing short of glorious. Thanks for entertaining cricket fans all around the world.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 20:05 GMT

    we n cricket wil miss u badly!!!

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    never to be forgotten. 500+ catches in test is a remarkable achievement.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 18:52 GMT

    Boucher will be hugely missed, not just in SA but in Cricket. We love you Mark and we will miss you.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    When I first started following cricket and South Africa as a 7 year old, Boucher had just taken over from Dave Richardson and was amazing. I've grown up seeing Boucher behind the stumps for SA. A constant, dependable figure. A position we never had to worry about because he was so good. Wicket-keepers don't get enough credit for what they do. They are sadly only noticed if they make a mistake. E.g. Kamran Akmal. It is a difficult skill and on top of that you're expect to bat decently as well. The man has been immense.

  • POSTED BY Pratchett on | March 5, 2012, 17:58 GMT

    Wow... You know you're getting old if you remember the first test of a player and then 15 years later see him retire... Time is a harsh mistress... Cheers Bouch!

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    Awesome keeper and a handsome person...

  • POSTED BY tigers_punch on | March 5, 2012, 15:46 GMT

    great ambassador for the sport. You will be definitely missed Mark. All the best for your future endeavours.... :)

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 15:34 GMT

    LIKE MARMITE-YOU OTHER LOVE HIM OR HATE HIM AS A WICKY-AS A BATSMAN WHO WOULDN'Y WANT HIM GOING IN AT 5-8? BUT THE GUY HAS REPRESENTED SOUTH AFRICA FOR YEARS, BROKEN RECORDS, SAVED MATCHES, LEFT OPPOSITIONS SAYING 'WOW'AND MADE US AS SOUTH AFRICANS REALLY REALLY PROUD AND GRATEFUL

  • POSTED BY swaroop677 on | March 5, 2012, 15:29 GMT

    the great man. we all miss u mark

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 15:17 GMT

    Amazing glove man... He will be missed

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 14:59 GMT

    Mark Boucher one of the greatest wicket keepers of all time. It is really sad not to see him play these days, but then he has already achieved a lot more over these 15 years of his cricketing career with South Africa National Side. A very talented lower middle order batsman too, one of the best knocks was his 50* Vs Australia which helped South Africa chase a mammoth 434 record breaking target in the one - day series decider, although Herschelle Gibbs contribution (175 runs) took all the accolades but then in the end it was Mark Boucher who played a very sensible and a matured knock at one end when wickets were falling as nine pins on the other for the Proteas. Mark you superb.

  • POSTED BY RNikh on | March 5, 2012, 14:46 GMT

    A great cricketer, one of the best keepers to the dawn the gloves, great handler of pressure, with both bat, and in bringing calmness on the field. Fine cricketer, great reader of the game, will miss seeing you behind the stumps for south Africa(will surely watch him if he plays in england tour), wish too see you as often as I can for your franchisee. A true legend!

  • POSTED BY Paracha420 on | March 5, 2012, 14:36 GMT

    What a player argubally the greatest keeper of all time and a man of crisis in batting down the order when ever his team needed him he's there...hats off for him...

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 13:46 GMT

    we gonna miss u boucher...it was a treat watching u with the gloves....an artist with the gloves.......

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 13:43 GMT

    hats off mark! wishing u a merry xmas in advance :)

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    Hats off to this guy.. A great fighter. He indeed won a lot of matches for SA single handedly. Best of luck for his future plans.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 13:26 GMT

    Possibly one of the most underrated cricketers of all time. Ironically, his best mate Kallis is from the same mold. Statistically Boucher and Kallis are the best keeper & batting allrounders of all time but of course we have to pretend Sobers and Bradman were better all round players than Kallis.

    Goodbye Mark, you were one tough fighter.

  • POSTED BY hersheybar on | March 5, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    Great player in his day, but his time has come unfortunately... I feel that he should have retired a couple of seasons ago. Will miss you Boucher! Hope SA can find a suitable replacement for him for tests.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    Everybody from GREAT 90s decade, is leaving. But a question with apologies from some potential fellows: when Tendulkar is leaving? Tendulkar made debut in 89'. Children born in 1989 are doing jobs after completing their education. So it is really sensible for little master to leave this arena. Nuwan Kulasekra is not his standard. Wasim, Waqar, McGrath were his standard. He should quit now.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 12:23 GMT

    Hey Mark!!!..Can you retire and then play for Pakistan for like a couple of years :$.....We don't have someone who is good at gloves and bat at the same time..:D

  • POSTED BY Busie1979 on | March 5, 2012, 12:07 GMT

    There are 3 main reasons why South Africa struggled against the Australian side when Australia were number 1. (1) They couldn't find a quality spinner. (2) Their top 6 was slightly weaker than the Aussies (3) They gave up 20 runs per innings by the keeper batsman. I hate to say this about a top quality wicket-keeper who has given South African cricket so much service, but the fact of the matter is that Boucher has not scored enough runs over his career. He is a handy batsman in the Ian Healy mould, but this is not enough these days. I've always wondered why Boucher's position in the team was so secure.

  • POSTED BY Yevghenny on | March 5, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    top class player, I remember SA's last tour of England his partnership with Smith won them the series, after coming in in a difficult situation. Tough character and played the game in the right spirit. A credit to cricket, and will be missed

  • POSTED BY Raghu003 on | March 5, 2012, 11:25 GMT

    I remember his innings while chasing the 434 against Australia... He was there till the end to take SA home... One of the best innings... and a best example handling pressure... One of the great wicket keepers... All the best Mark... Enjoy this Christmas... ;)

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 11:18 GMT

    loved him behind the wicket .....Thank you very much for making us witness the fine art of wicket keeping .The world cricket will miss u in action .

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 11:10 GMT

    Should have retired 3 seasons ago already. Long past his expiry date. Good player in his day, but that day has long gone.

  • POSTED BY AlanHarrison on | March 5, 2012, 10:56 GMT

    Will be hoping to finish on the winning side on his last tour, as he did the last time he played a test series in England in 2008

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    legends leaving the game, sanath,sachin,magra,gilly,punter,hayden,pollok,dada,inzi,vass,kallis & Boucher,i remember these guys were battling against each other head to head over the years, they were fasinating to watch, when were kids, they were our heroes but those days will never come again, i feel like im aging :(

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    Terrific keeper and a real team man. Hats off to you.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    Wonderful Player from my childhood... No Keeper would replace him in south africa.. he is a legend... Thanks for all Your memories.. This time you made me cry by the announcement of career end..:-( Hope you see in all the other domestic matches...:-) You will be the Role model for all the wicket keepers in the world.. Awesome Boucher....

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    Good bye mark!! Statistics not telling every thing. Your batting contribution for the proteas is phenomenal and far better than the statistics. You can handle the bat under pressure. My personal opinion is Mark Boucher is the best wicket keeper in our generation. We cant expect another specialist wicket keeper like you.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    probably the best wicket-keeper batsmen i've seen... much better than gilchrist... wish u all the best for the final series and then ur future lyf... will miss u... love from Pakistan !!!

  • POSTED BY duncanmoo on | March 5, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    Boucher was always the safety net in the batting order and he rescued the team on countless occasions, yes a legend. I am also glad CSA is communicating this properly and not just dropping the guy after such long excellent service.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 8:20 GMT

    Frustrating (for the opposition), Fiesty & a Fighter ... the three F's of Boucher, an awesome career that ends with his team at a good place in all formats of the game,

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    The end of an era! I think Boucher is the last of the specialist keepers. Never again will a keeper be selected first and foremost for his keeping rather than his batting.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 7:39 GMT

    We will miss him when he's gone, for sure. Looking forward to seeing who gets the nod as his understudy for the England tour - Tsolekile and Vilas are both very good players, and it will be exciting to see a new face behind the stumps for the Proteas.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 7:38 GMT

    absolute legend...one of the most underrated cricketers of our times

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    I remember been a sad 17 year old when Dave Richardson retired cricket, thinking that we'd never be able to replace him. Well I'm now an even sadder 32 year old, thinking how on earth will we replace Boucher. Thanks for all the memories and never say die attitude Mr. Boucher.

  • POSTED BY djdrastic on | March 5, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    Finally we can look for a good wicketkeeper again.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    Bouch you absolute legend, I hope you have very good series against NZ & England. All the best for the future.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | March 5, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    Thanks for the wonderful memories Mark. It was a pleasure seeing you battle it out for South Africa. I hope you can enjoy your second innings in life. My salute to the father of modern day wicket-keeper batsmen.

  • POSTED BY Vista12 on | March 5, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    Absolute legend, not many people who started their professional career in 1997 are still playing. Off the top of my head, Sachin, Dravid, Kallis and Ponting are the only ones still playing.

    Boucher is crucial for the England series. He and an understudy (probably Vilas) should both play in the warm up games and they can share keeping duties. His experience is vital and I still think if we are 100 for 5 down in the first test, Boucher is the man that you want to see coming in rather than a test rookie.

    His fighting qualities and experience will be crucial.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    And end it in that fashion he will..I hope so..This guy is the best wicketkeeper i've known,bending his back for 15 yrs..Wow that is tough..He has bore all that like any other champion...If he gets more catches his record will just be difficult to break like Kallis's or Sachin's...Take a bow Bouchi...

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    Arguably the best wicket-keeper in the world in the last twenty years! Behind the stumps, I guess he was even better than Gilchrist!

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    i strongly feel that he is not a better keeper than Gilli bt yes he is really a good keeper ... indian keepers will never have such stats of catches coz indian team doesnt have quality fast bowlers who cn make batsman to edge behind the wicket ... one more legend is going ... bt hope cricket will produce more legends like dat .. bye bye mark

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    Phenomenal Keeper; Farewell Boucher! It was a pleasure to see u keeping with the safest pair of hands behind the wicket & your role in front of the wicket is also much appreciable. Overall, a good all round package. Wish all the best for the rest of your life. But let me tell u, your records r as worthy as the records of your team mates Kallish, Pollock, Ntini, Donald and others and u r as valuable as Lara, Ponting, Sachin, Dravid, McGrath, Gilly, Wanre, Murli, Akram and few others. U r a LEGEND, I salute u!

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    LEGEND. There wont be another like him.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    A man who somehow always felt like the natural mascot of the Jo'burg Bullring. If you have a scrap on your hands .. dial Mark Boucher. SA have always invested well and long in their keepers. But it's a measure of Boucher's success behind and in front of the stumps that Dave Richardson seems like a long lost story and Nic Pothas and Stolekile could only dream. Had he played in another era and not the same as Gilchrist, he'd have been the unquestioned alpha-male of wicketkeeping. In the end, it's his tough-as-nails attitude, that square-jawed mongrel which came to fore everytime opposition were baying for blood .. that'd stay. Good luck for the future!

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    Sad news. Another retiring player whose career I have seen from the very start. I remember first time I watched him play, it was at the super six tournament back in 96 opening for South Africa. I always felt that he never really did justice with his ability with the bat in the international level. Also it makes me wonder how many players in current/emerging players can survive international cricket for this long, especially since the arrival of 3rd formats in cricket.

  • POSTED BY Rahulbose on | March 5, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    Soon all my cricket heors will be gone. Boucher was one fighting cricketer, always played his best when team was in a tight spot of looking to finish a close chase.

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  • POSTED BY Rahulbose on | March 5, 2012, 3:54 GMT

    Soon all my cricket heors will be gone. Boucher was one fighting cricketer, always played his best when team was in a tight spot of looking to finish a close chase.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 4:11 GMT

    Sad news. Another retiring player whose career I have seen from the very start. I remember first time I watched him play, it was at the super six tournament back in 96 opening for South Africa. I always felt that he never really did justice with his ability with the bat in the international level. Also it makes me wonder how many players in current/emerging players can survive international cricket for this long, especially since the arrival of 3rd formats in cricket.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    A man who somehow always felt like the natural mascot of the Jo'burg Bullring. If you have a scrap on your hands .. dial Mark Boucher. SA have always invested well and long in their keepers. But it's a measure of Boucher's success behind and in front of the stumps that Dave Richardson seems like a long lost story and Nic Pothas and Stolekile could only dream. Had he played in another era and not the same as Gilchrist, he'd have been the unquestioned alpha-male of wicketkeeping. In the end, it's his tough-as-nails attitude, that square-jawed mongrel which came to fore everytime opposition were baying for blood .. that'd stay. Good luck for the future!

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 4:43 GMT

    LEGEND. There wont be another like him.

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    Phenomenal Keeper; Farewell Boucher! It was a pleasure to see u keeping with the safest pair of hands behind the wicket & your role in front of the wicket is also much appreciable. Overall, a good all round package. Wish all the best for the rest of your life. But let me tell u, your records r as worthy as the records of your team mates Kallish, Pollock, Ntini, Donald and others and u r as valuable as Lara, Ponting, Sachin, Dravid, McGrath, Gilly, Wanre, Murli, Akram and few others. U r a LEGEND, I salute u!

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    i strongly feel that he is not a better keeper than Gilli bt yes he is really a good keeper ... indian keepers will never have such stats of catches coz indian team doesnt have quality fast bowlers who cn make batsman to edge behind the wicket ... one more legend is going ... bt hope cricket will produce more legends like dat .. bye bye mark

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 5:36 GMT

    Arguably the best wicket-keeper in the world in the last twenty years! Behind the stumps, I guess he was even better than Gilchrist!

  • POSTED BY on | March 5, 2012, 5:49 GMT

    And end it in that fashion he will..I hope so..This guy is the best wicketkeeper i've known,bending his back for 15 yrs..Wow that is tough..He has bore all that like any other champion...If he gets more catches his record will just be difficult to break like Kallis's or Sachin's...Take a bow Bouchi...

  • POSTED BY Vista12 on | March 5, 2012, 6:08 GMT

    Absolute legend, not many people who started their professional career in 1997 are still playing. Off the top of my head, Sachin, Dravid, Kallis and Ponting are the only ones still playing.

    Boucher is crucial for the England series. He and an understudy (probably Vilas) should both play in the warm up games and they can share keeping duties. His experience is vital and I still think if we are 100 for 5 down in the first test, Boucher is the man that you want to see coming in rather than a test rookie.

    His fighting qualities and experience will be crucial.

  • POSTED BY Cpt.Meanster on | March 5, 2012, 6:17 GMT

    Thanks for the wonderful memories Mark. It was a pleasure seeing you battle it out for South Africa. I hope you can enjoy your second innings in life. My salute to the father of modern day wicket-keeper batsmen.