Birthday special: Mark Boucher – South Africa’s most accomplished wicket-keeper

Mark Boucher

Mark Verdon Boucher, who is deemed as South Africa’s best wicket-keeper ever, turns 45 today. Boucher is the current Proteas coach and former cricketer who plied his trade for the national team in all three formats of the game. Regarded as the best wicket-keeper batsman of all time, Boucher holds the record for maximum no of Test dismissals on his name. He has in total of 532 catches and 555 total dismissals on his name.

Glorious career

Talking of his contribution in the world of cricket, Boucher has been part of Border, Warriors, South Africa XI, ICC World XI. Talking about his presence in the Indian Premier League, he has been part of RCB and KKR. He was the regular feature of the South African side since 1997/98 while his national team toured Australia. He bowed out of the international formats of cricket after sustaining a serious eye injury while playing against Somerset.

Ever since he replaced Dave Richardson, Boucher was too much in demand and remained the first choice wicketkeeper of his side till his retirement. He reached his Test cricket record of most dismissals by stumping Umar Gul on Paul Harris’ delivery. He is also in the third position in this category in ODIs. Talking of his brilliance with the bat, he was equally laudable on various occasions.

Capable with the bat

He has a record for the highest score on his name while marking his presence as a night watchman in Test cricket. He made 125 runs for South Africa during the Test against Zimbabwe at Harare in November 1999. It was during 2006 when Boucher scored winning runs for his team against Australia in an ODI that is considered the greatest ever game played. While starting his journey in the 2007 Cricket World Cup, he showed some stellar format as he bagged a 21 ball half-century, the fastest in the World Cup back then.

Mark Boucher turned out to be the first wicketkeeper in the history of the longest format of the game to unlock the milestone of grabbing 400 dismissals. He was named as the South African player of the year in 1998, 2000, and 2006. He was adjudged as Wisden Cricketer of the year in 2009. In May 2017, he was also acknowledged for his unmatchable efforts in coaching as he was named as Coach of the Year at Cricket South Africa’s annual awards ceremony.