Farewell, Mark 999 Poucher...

Rocket RajaStarred Page By Rocket Raja, 13th Jul 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Sport

A tribute to one of the greatest wicket-keepers who ruled the roost.

Five footed and flashy wick(et)-pocketer.

He came storming in with his face fiercer than his run-up. Fine leg was up and the batsman was scouting for easy runs behind the wicket. A short ball drifting down the leg prompts him to have a go at it. A flash of white behind the stumps and two seconds later, Allan Donald and Mark Boucher are seen hugging each other. Replays show the ball cradled safely in the webbing of Boucher’s glove.



After Dave Richardson hung up his boots, South Africa was scouting for a replacement when a certain Mark Boucher raised his hand and donned the glove. A short man with a stocky frame, Boucher showed why appearances could be deceptive. Be it behind the stumps or in front of it, Boucher oozed authority and confidence. It didn’t matter if the scorecard read 202/3 or 52/5, nor did it make a difference if the Proteas were chasing 189 or 434. Be it pressure of chasing or hostility of frenzied foreign crowds, Boucher came out to the pitch unfazed by what surrounded him with a job in hand. He had gifted arms with powerful wrists. Like any other good keeper, he withstood the numerous bruises that his fingers sustained without much ado. All in a day’s work, they say.

The unfortunate warrior

Though Boucher has been such an asset for the team playing down the order, his position hampered him from making the big scores in ODIs. If the team got off to a flyer, his role was to finish the innings in style. If the team were left reeling due to a collective top order failure, Boucher was the gel that held the tail together. Fans expected much more than the half a dozen ODI hundreds that the keeper has to his name. Adding to the long list of lower order batsmen like Michael Bevan and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Mark Boucher hence sacrificed the big scores for the ‘Finisher’ tag that fit him to the tee.

The crouching assassin

Just as how he lifted the weight off the shoulders of greats like Hanse Cronje and Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher made life a bed of roses for the likes of Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock and Dale Steyn. Their job was just to cajole a nick out of the batter. Boucher took care of the rest. He was notorious for his habit of disturbing the stumps. The batsmen feared to dance down the track to go for glory because there was always Boucher breathing down their neck. He gave the popping crease a new meaning. He pinned them down. It almost became the Lakshman Rekha that batsmen hesitated to cross. Such was his dominance behind the stumps.

Though Adam Gilchrist was arguably the most prolific Wicket Keeper batsmen among his contemporaries, critics have their reasons for backing Boucher as the better Keeper of the two. Some say it was because he made keeping look so easy, some laud his technique and feet movement while some watch in awe the amount of ground he covers on both sides of the batsman. If Rahul Dravid built a wall in front of the three sticks, Boucher built a wall behind them and filled it with rubber pouches with webbed lids. He loved the first slips too much to let them do any sort of catching – he wanted to pocket everything within his reach himself. Byes were deemed taboo when he kept wickets.

999 - Now, one dismissal and one eye short.

Very regularly, Irony brings to light the lighter side of cruel incidents. On Tuesday, Mark Boucher understood the concept of role reversal. The bails did the honours to the keeper and returned him the favour he had been doing them for the past decade – plucked his eye. The ball could have very easily kicked off the pitch and spun a bit more to beat the batsman and produce a nick or a stumping. Boucher would have stolen yet another wicket. But the ball had other intentions. As Boucher walked off the field bleeding, little did he know that it would be his last walk back.

Wicket Keepers and Mark Boucher

There are those who field with pads and gloves. And there are those who crouch, rise and strafe behind the stumps, man the V behind the wicket, share a light moment with first slips, have eyes that bore through batsmen and have pouches for gloves and lids for webbings. Mark Boucher was a livewire behind wickets who impressed with his electrifying keeping. He, along with Gilchrist made the world look up to wicket-keepers.

Mark Poucher, It is not your retirement that bereaves us. Champions come, champions go. It is the way your career had to end, that pines us fans. You gave us happy moments, stunning catches, unbelievable finishes. Though it is impossible for us fans to repay you in kind, it is only fitting that we give back our unwavering loyalty and undiminished support as always. We will miss your keeping, your hitting and most importantly, your presence in the vicinity of the 22 yards. Here’s to one of the greediest wick(et)-pocketers ever to have guarded the stumps!

Tags

Ball, Bat, Boucher, Carry, Cherry, Condolence, Cricket, Eye, Gloves, Injury, Odi, Pads, Pluck, Pouch, Rubber, Sad, Test Match, Tragic, Wicket Keeper, Wicketkeeper

Meet the author

author avatar Rocket Raja
A teenager with a wandering mind, restless fingers and loads of time. Hoping to do a good job.

Share this page

moderator johnnydod moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know

Comments

author avatar Rocket Raja
13th Jul 2012 (#)

Thanks for the star!

Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
13th Jul 2012 (#)

great share Raja, Boucher has been a man of honor and a man of safe hands all throughout his cricketing career..One of the best performances of Boucher cam to the fore under the Late Captain Hansie Cronje (My favorite)..thanks a lot for reminding those events.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Rocket Raja
13th Jul 2012 (#)

My pleasure Albela, thanks for the comment. :)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
14th Jul 2012 (#)

What a tribute to a true legend! I pray he comes back to reach his deserving target - siva

Reply to this comment

author avatar Rocket Raja
14th Jul 2012 (#)

Thank you siva, He is too precious a gem to be tarnished this way..

Reply to this comment

author avatar Denise O
14th Jul 2012 (#)

I am an American and cricket is not big here to say the least. I have always wanted to see a game played and have yet to do so. Now after stating my ignorance on the sport I must admit, this is some darn good writing and well presented piece. Congrats on the star page, it is well deserved. Thank you for sharing.:)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Rocket Raja
15th Jul 2012 (#)

Thank you Denise! :)

Reply to this comment

author avatar Ptrikha
3rd Jan 2014 (#)

Great article on a great cricket player!

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Username
Can't login?
Password