The news that Mark Boucher’s tour and cricket career are both over is a sad day for cricket, but put into perspective, are insignificant when there is doubt about whether he will ever recover his sight in the injured eye. So with that in mind, cricket is a secondary thought.
The way that people have talked about this incident since Monday has been that sombre at times we could be forgiven for thinking that someone had died, but such is the possible consequences for Boucher, that sombreness is fully understandable.
No one in cricket (or 99% of sports I would imagine) goes out to take part worrying about whether they might be half blinded that day. This is why it has come as such a shock to Boucher’s team mates.
The other reason for Boucher’s team mates reaction is clearly because of the high esteem in which he is held. Along with Kallis, Boucher is the backbone on which this team is and has been built on over the past decade and beyond.
I don’t know first hand about his professionalism or contribution to the team behind the scenes, but to have lasted as long as he has, it must be second to none.
My own views on Boucher – looking from a distance – are that he is a durable solid guy. To have lasted this long in Test cricket, he has to have been. He wasn’t Gilchrist with the bat, or Alan Knott with the gloves, but who is? No one, is the answer – and that’s not meant as a criticism.
Boucher was a solid cricketer, he stood the test of time, he was a consistent performer, a chirpy character, gritty and determined, one of those awkward sods you could never get rid of when you got through the batsmen cheaply, and the backbone of the team. He will definitely be missed by South Africa and probably irreplaceable for some time.
It’s hard to see his records being bettered as well. How many wicket keepers coming through will be good enough, fit enough, consistent enough or mentally tough enough to play 147 Tests and 295 ODI’s ?