Cape Town - The Proteas’ Mark Boucher is going to have to
wait until the England series from July to reach the first-time milestone by a
wicketkeeper of 1 000 international dismissals.
He was left stuck on the agonising figure of 999 – enough to
make a superstitious personality like late umpire David Shepherd horrendously
uncomfortable – after completion of the three-Test series against New Zealand
in Wellington on Tuesday.
Boucher seemed odds-on to achieve the landmark in New
Zealand’s second innings, when he caught Daniel Flynn off the fired-up Morne
Morkel in just the third over for his 999th victim, but could not
manage another over the course of the knock which lasted 80.4 overs before a
draw with the Black Caps six wickets down.
He was on 995 going into the Basin Reserve Test, and claimed
three catches in the Black Caps’ first innings to go with the one in the second
On the bright side, his four-figure mark will pretty
certainly be reached now in the home of cricket later in the year, and probably
at The Oval where South Africa play the first Test against Andrew Strauss’s
team from July 19.
His ongoing place in the Proteas’ Test plans seems much more
assured than it did earlier this summer, even if the England visit is also
tipped to be his swansong after some 15 years of duty at the highest level.
Boucher kept wicket tidily in New Zealand and also averaged
a useful 36 with the bat, higher than his career average at present of 30.
The 35-year-old’s 999 is comprised of 555 Test dismissals,
425 in one-day internationals and 19 in Twenty20 internationals.
When he inevitably earns the figure of 1,000, he will stand
alone among all-time glovemen for getting there ... and be there for a long
Retired Australian Adam Gilchrist is next for most
dismissals with a total career tally of 905.
Of wicketkeepers still playing, the 34-year-old Kumar
Sangakkara of Sri Lanka is closest – but also far away – on just over 600
dismissals across the formats, and he seldom keeps wicket in Tests these days.
In England, Boucher is also set, if he stays fit and in form
throughout the Test series, to become only the seventh player of all time and
second South African after his great friend and team-mate Jacques Kallis to
reach the figure of 150 Test caps or more – he is currently on 147.
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