Boucher: 'No love lost, just respect'
Following a fractious tour down under, South Africa's wicketkeeper Mark Boucher lets rip at all things Australian to Telford Vice
Was this tour more intense and aggressive than you
Every tour I've been on to Australia, about a month or two before, we start talking about the way they play. We build it up way too much. Yes, they're an aggressive cricketing nation. So are we. They're going to talk on the field. So are we. If you talk about it too much - about the way they're going to sledge - you're playing into their hands. You take your eye off the ball. The game is between bat and ball and if you're worrying about what they're going to say they're winning the battle before it starts. The media overplays the sledging issue - and the talk before a game. This tour has been ridiculous from that perspective. Graeme Smith hasn't said much off the field. He did talk about a lack of experience in Australia's middle order and they were going through a changing of the guard. They were found out in the Ashes and that's why we homed in on their middle order. But the press took it out of proportion and started taking personal digs at players. It was nasty.
Did that happen because Australians aren't used to
being taken on at a verbal level?
Definitely. They've been through a few golden years in their sport. They don't know the other side, they don't know how to lose. Australia were lucky to stay alive in the Ashes for as long as they did. Except for the first Test they were completely outplayed. I don't think they knew how to take that. It was a shock to their press, their past players and their current players. The past players in particular made a lot of comments on this tour. Maybe they should keep their mouths shut and focus on watching the game. Let the teams do the talking in the middle.
|I hope our public give them a bit of stick because we've taken a serious amount.|
Nasty things have been said. We did share a few beers after the Test series. But a lot of guys' eyes, maybe on both sides, have been opened. I think the beers that are drunk may be just for the sake of it because that's the right thing to do. I'm not going to mention names but I have lost respect for one or two of their players. If they want to say the same thing about us, no problem. But we live in South Africa and they live in Australia - we don't have to put up with them and they don't have to put up with us. It's do-or-die on the field and hopefully we can keep the rest to a minimum.
Have racist taunts from the crowd been a factor on
your other tours to Australia?
To tell the truth, yes. I think what we've done has shown other sportsmen, like soccer players, that you can stand up and deem this sort of thing unacceptable. The Australian press are trying to say expat South Africans are the culprits. Well, years ago Brian McMillan and I ran after a guy who was abusing Makhaya at the SCG. He was definitely Australian. They know what gets to us and as long as it is within the boundaries of the expected that's fine. Once they step over those boundaries it is not acceptable and you have to take a stand as a team. Obviously it's not the majority of the crowd. It's the guys who have had too much liquor and they're trying to be smart arses. So we understand it's difficult to control. But we've made our point.
What will happen when the Australians tour South
Africa in March?
I hope our public give them a bit of stick because we've taken a serious amount. In the past our crowds haven't been too great with them but trust me, we're not going to sit back and say, `shame, poor things'.
It must've been better playing the Sri Lankans in the
VB Series - in front of neutral crowds?
What do you mean? Then the crowd abuses both teams.