South Africa news March 5, 2012

Boucher likely to retire after England tour

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Mark Boucher is likely to announce his retirement after South Africa's tour of England in July this year.

"I would like to go England and then start a process of trying to get another keeper involved. I think I've still got a lot to offer in that department," Boucher, who is part of South Africa's Test squad touring New Zealand, told ESPNcricinfo. "My body is getting a little sore, to be honest. The back is starting to play up a bit. If I can manage myself form-wise and it all goes to plan, then after England I will probably look at my career and my retirement."

Although South Africa have not picked their squad to England yet, Boucher was hopeful of being included, depending on his performances in New Zealand. He has been on three tours to England, and said his experience could merit a fourth visit.

"I am pretty well-equipped mentally for what's going to happen," he said. "Even the English keepers will tell you that in England you will drop the odd ball. You just have to try and hold on to the catches, because it does move around there a lot."

Boucher has been South Africa's premier wicketkeeper for 15 years and has only missed three Tests since making his debut in 1997.

His first tour to England, in 1998, Boucher said, played an important part in his overall development. "When I first went there, it was a big eye-opener for me in terms of my technique. I thought keeping in South Africa on some occasions was quite difficult but it's actually a lot harder keeping in England. The second time I went there [in 2003] was actually a lot easier because I wasn't blind to what I was going to do and it went a lot better for me. Hopefully, third time round I will be able to keep even better."

If selected, Boucher will have to play the dual role of keeper and mentor, as Cricket South Africa - which, for the first time since it introduced contracts in 1998, signed a second wicketkeeper for the 2012-13 season - prepares for life without him.

Thami Tsolekile, who took over from Boucher in 2004, has been earmarked as his successor once again, but Andrew Hudson, the convenor of selectors, said Tsolekile was not guaranteed a place in the national side simply by virtue of his contract and that other keepers around the country, such as Heino Kuhn and Dane Vilas, are all eligible for selection.

Hudson said Boucher would groom his successor; the process for appointing one is likely to start on the England tour, for which the panel will consider sending two keepers.

Although he has not clearly identified a replacement, Boucher has helped monitor the situation at his own franchise, the Cobras, where he has played a part in Vilas' development.

"I've been working hard with Dane Vilas. He's extremely talented," he said. "He has a couple of things to do as a keeper but he is improving every day and improving fast. As a batter he could fit into any side. He is extremely talented, he is aggressive, which is just perfect for Twenty20, one-day and Test cricket. I'm not saying he is the next guy to take over but he certainly has potential."

For now, Boucher said he is focused on the tour of New Zealand, which could set the tone for South Africa's next year of travel. Boucher arrived with the remaining members of the Test squad last Thursday, and as one of only four players to have been to New Zealand before, on the 2004 tour, is looking forward to the challenge a second time around.

"We haven't been to New Zealand for a long time and it looks like the conditions have changed a lot from the past. It looks like there might be a bit of assistance for our bowlers. New Zealand are very similar to us in the way that they walk around, they are very confident, bordering on arrogant, which is a good thing. It will be a good contest."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • letsgoproteas on March 6, 2012, 9:55 GMT

    Boucher is a true legend in the game.

    Its a disgrace that Tsolekile is being given the gloves considering his age. Bring in the young guns for experience. Especially while Boucher is around to help.

  • StaalBurgher on March 5, 2012, 21:13 GMT

    Funny how this article talks about Vilas as the replacement but SA Cricket has given a central contract to Tsolekile, 31, who averages 25 over his career. Unless the central contract thing was a misreport which I hope it was.

  • Stark62 on March 5, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    Great keeper but mediocre batsmen and that is how he will be remembered!

  • Robster1 on March 5, 2012, 15:56 GMT

    Boucher's been a superb cricketer for SA for many a year and will hopefully be so in 2012. Maybe he'll playing well enough to make the next SA summer too. As for his replacement, not Tsolekile as he'll simply be too old at 32 to properly start an international career. I think also that his batting wouldn't stand up to international bowlers. AB must not take the gloves in test matches so for me it's either Vilas for the immediate future or de Kock or possible Seconds long term.

  • mar2000 on March 5, 2012, 15:51 GMT

    Now these are words of a TRUE sportsman . I do hope he will be treated nicely and well looke after by SA. Thanks Boucher for your long service to the game . Do hope to hear you behind the MIKE.

  • jonesy2 on March 5, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    hes been a great. a real great. i will always remember mark boucher as a cornerstone of SA over the years. smart of him to leave after playing england, it will be fitting for him to go out on a high

  • MENDIS_Forever on March 5, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    Great personality.A role model for any budding Wicket keeper.Hats off to you sir! -Tributes from Sri Lankans.

  • Pablo123 on March 5, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    Good Luck Mark - I only remember all the good times, luckily most of your career was filled with good cricket and great memories, very few chinks in the armour. You will go down in history as the greatest keeper of them all, and no one will ever take that away. Good luck

  • golgo_85 on March 5, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    What's wrong with carrying on with AB in both formats? He's the best batsman among the aforementioned lot without a doubt plus he is only 28.

  • on March 5, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    Richard - Rudi averages 42, de Kock averages 63. Not sure where you get your stats from. de Kock/Vilas for next keeper, surely. Boucher however was, and is, a true professional, real gritty cricketer. Will be missed!

  • letsgoproteas on March 6, 2012, 9:55 GMT

    Boucher is a true legend in the game.

    Its a disgrace that Tsolekile is being given the gloves considering his age. Bring in the young guns for experience. Especially while Boucher is around to help.

  • StaalBurgher on March 5, 2012, 21:13 GMT

    Funny how this article talks about Vilas as the replacement but SA Cricket has given a central contract to Tsolekile, 31, who averages 25 over his career. Unless the central contract thing was a misreport which I hope it was.

  • Stark62 on March 5, 2012, 20:16 GMT

    Great keeper but mediocre batsmen and that is how he will be remembered!

  • Robster1 on March 5, 2012, 15:56 GMT

    Boucher's been a superb cricketer for SA for many a year and will hopefully be so in 2012. Maybe he'll playing well enough to make the next SA summer too. As for his replacement, not Tsolekile as he'll simply be too old at 32 to properly start an international career. I think also that his batting wouldn't stand up to international bowlers. AB must not take the gloves in test matches so for me it's either Vilas for the immediate future or de Kock or possible Seconds long term.

  • mar2000 on March 5, 2012, 15:51 GMT

    Now these are words of a TRUE sportsman . I do hope he will be treated nicely and well looke after by SA. Thanks Boucher for your long service to the game . Do hope to hear you behind the MIKE.

  • jonesy2 on March 5, 2012, 14:02 GMT

    hes been a great. a real great. i will always remember mark boucher as a cornerstone of SA over the years. smart of him to leave after playing england, it will be fitting for him to go out on a high

  • MENDIS_Forever on March 5, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    Great personality.A role model for any budding Wicket keeper.Hats off to you sir! -Tributes from Sri Lankans.

  • Pablo123 on March 5, 2012, 13:32 GMT

    Good Luck Mark - I only remember all the good times, luckily most of your career was filled with good cricket and great memories, very few chinks in the armour. You will go down in history as the greatest keeper of them all, and no one will ever take that away. Good luck

  • golgo_85 on March 5, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    What's wrong with carrying on with AB in both formats? He's the best batsman among the aforementioned lot without a doubt plus he is only 28.

  • on March 5, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    Richard - Rudi averages 42, de Kock averages 63. Not sure where you get your stats from. de Kock/Vilas for next keeper, surely. Boucher however was, and is, a true professional, real gritty cricketer. Will be missed!

  • on March 5, 2012, 12:40 GMT

    Richard Watters actually de kock averages about 10 runs more per innings in fc cricket but yeah Seconds a talented cricketer too. I think that we shouldnt forget about Davey Jacobs if we can get his hip injury sorted his a a very good no 7 aggressive batsman who takes the game away from the opposition his a competent gloveman as well

  • BellCurve on March 5, 2012, 12:11 GMT

    @RichardWatters - When comparing Quinton de Kock to Rudi Second the latter's surname says it all.

  • on March 5, 2012, 11:17 GMT

    to Nuxxy, please hvae a look at a guy called Rudi Second, has a better average and bats higher up the order than Quinton.

  • SamAsh07 on March 5, 2012, 10:03 GMT

    Excellent future thoughts, if only Misbah, Sachin etc realized what is the right age to retire. I guess Asian countries can't help it, they want their stars past 36 too!! Misbah for Pakistan, Sachin/Dravid/Laxman for India and Jayasuriya for SL (Though he is retired now, but he played till 40 or 41!!!).

  • Marktc on March 5, 2012, 9:39 GMT

    I agree with Xolile, Tsolkile is very good, but his age does count against him. We need to groom a young player. Boucher is one of the best 'keepers cricket has seen. He holds virtually every 'keeping record and like him or not, he is a legend. Over and above that, is low batting average betrays how many times he has pulled SA from the jaws of defeat. We will miss hi. Nathan Kiely- De Villiers is a reluctant 'keeper He is not interested in the test keeping, nor should he be. I still think it is a specialized position and a bonus if your 'keeper can bat.

  • MaruthuDelft on March 5, 2012, 9:35 GMT

    Marvelous Cricketer. A Real Role Model.

  • TommytuckerSaffa on March 5, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    Good luck Boucher and well done for retiring at the right time and not dragging your career for sake of personal records and stats....

    Interesting who the replacement will be. In a recent article Boucher thinks it will be Villas but CSA (cricket SA) thinks it will be Tsolikile...

  • satish619chandar on March 5, 2012, 8:22 GMT

    One of the greatest cricketer to have played.. Grit is the only word comes to me thinking of Boucher.. What a cricketer he was all round.. Excellent keeping backed by gritty batting which helped in most occasions.. His best being the his finishing role in 434 game..

  • satish619chandar on March 5, 2012, 8:21 GMT

    @HusseyForever : Better we can stick with Boucher and not pull some other's legs.. God bless..

  • on March 5, 2012, 8:17 GMT

    Legend!

  • BellCurve on March 5, 2012, 7:50 GMT

    I like Tsolikile. But he is 32 years old. I would rather select Quinton de Kock to participate in the tour of England and take over from Boucher. He is ready for International cricket. Look at his phenomenal form in the MiWay T20 tournament. It may be cautious to make him play two more seasons of domestic cricket. But that would be a mistake. Talent like this only comes along once in a generation.

  • Nuxxy on March 5, 2012, 7:47 GMT

    The next wicketkeeper must be Quinton de Kock. There is no comparison - he is youngest, the best bat of the bunch, and with Boucher's mentoring will be the best keeper too.

  • on March 5, 2012, 7:13 GMT

    Not happy wid boucher leaving the arena but happy 2 see he is grooming a youngster behind him as a successor....... unlike of indian team where legends like sachin sehwag dhoni hardly give time to young guns.....and we left no option to play them again nd again... felt bad for uthaapa, tiwary not getting enough chances to play in international level..

  • on March 5, 2012, 6:29 GMT

    Great Players!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Take right Decisions @ Right Time Wishing MArk a Great Future !!!!!! God Bless

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on March 5, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    Boucher has been a fantastic servant of SA cricket , only 3 Tests missed since 1997 is amazing. Good to see he is thinking of the future of the team. But Mark you can't say they the NZ'ers are bordering on arrogant. As they will tell you constantly (obsessively?) only Australians are arrogant and that all Kiwis are humble sweet natured lovable salt of the earth types.

  • on March 5, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    Why isn't De Villiers being considered again?

  • Mervo on March 5, 2012, 5:00 GMT

    Don't mention any replacements! The England team with recruit him!

  • HusseyForever on March 5, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    This is called graceful retirement. Some record-breaking Indian players must need to learn how to retire.

  • Abdullah1991 on March 5, 2012, 4:36 GMT

    Yes. A very talented, mature and all-rounder wicket keeper. He has done really well with keeping and at the same time with the bat. One of the legends of SA. He must be given a good farewell before leaving. I pray Pak could have a keeper like him in future.

  • buccinator on March 5, 2012, 4:08 GMT

    We will miss you Boucher!!!!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!! SA would be hard pressed to find someone as solid and talented as Boucher to replace him.

  • on March 5, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    we will miss u mark.............

  • nathangonmad on March 5, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    Why can't AB take up the gloves like he does in one day cricket?

  • JustOUT on March 5, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    Greatest Wkt keeper of all time.. Nobody can beat his records in TESTs.

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  • JustOUT on March 5, 2012, 3:47 GMT

    Greatest Wkt keeper of all time.. Nobody can beat his records in TESTs.

  • nathangonmad on March 5, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    Why can't AB take up the gloves like he does in one day cricket?

  • on March 5, 2012, 3:59 GMT

    we will miss u mark.............

  • buccinator on March 5, 2012, 4:08 GMT

    We will miss you Boucher!!!!!!!!!! Good luck!!!!!!!!!!!!! SA would be hard pressed to find someone as solid and talented as Boucher to replace him.

  • Abdullah1991 on March 5, 2012, 4:36 GMT

    Yes. A very talented, mature and all-rounder wicket keeper. He has done really well with keeping and at the same time with the bat. One of the legends of SA. He must be given a good farewell before leaving. I pray Pak could have a keeper like him in future.

  • HusseyForever on March 5, 2012, 4:58 GMT

    This is called graceful retirement. Some record-breaking Indian players must need to learn how to retire.

  • Mervo on March 5, 2012, 5:00 GMT

    Don't mention any replacements! The England team with recruit him!

  • on March 5, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    Why isn't De Villiers being considered again?

  • Behind_the_bowlers_arm on March 5, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    Boucher has been a fantastic servant of SA cricket , only 3 Tests missed since 1997 is amazing. Good to see he is thinking of the future of the team. But Mark you can't say they the NZ'ers are bordering on arrogant. As they will tell you constantly (obsessively?) only Australians are arrogant and that all Kiwis are humble sweet natured lovable salt of the earth types.

  • on March 5, 2012, 6:29 GMT

    Great Players!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Take right Decisions @ Right Time Wishing MArk a Great Future !!!!!! God Bless