Arthur lauds Boucher's efforts

2012-07-10 22:09

Manchester - Former South Africa coach Mickey Arthur hailed the "phenomenal" Mark Boucher after the Proteas wicketkeeper was forced into premature international retirement by a freak eye injury.

GALLERY: Mark Boucher's Proteas' career timeline

Read more on eye injuries

Boucher had to undergo three hours of surgery after being struck in the left eyeball by a bail on the first day of South Africa's opening match of their tour of England against Somerset at Taunton on Monday.

The incident occurred when a ball from leg-spinner Imran Tahir clean bowled Gemaal Hussain, with Boucher stood up to the stumps and wearing a cap instead of a helmet.

The 35-year-old, a Proteas mainstay for the best part of 15 years, was due to return home after being released from hospital on Tuesday and South Africa captain Graeme Smith, speaking at Taunton, read out a statement on Boucher's behalf that confirmed his international retirement.

"I was really disappointed for him," Arthur, now coaching Australia, told BBC Radio ahead of the fifth one-day international against England at Old Trafford here on Tuesday.

"I know he wanted to come here because he wanted it to be his real swansong as a Test series, so it is really disappointing to end this way for Mark."

Arthur, who worked with Boucher at both domestic and international level, added: "I have lots of memories as his coach, too many memories. I was really close to Mark, I had a special affinity for him, I knew his family very well."

Arthur also recalled the time when Boucher was dropped for the tour of India in 2004.

"We went through a lot of hard times together, a lot of blood, sweat and tears with Bouch.

"I thought he was a fine cricketer a guy you really wanted on your side, a guy that never, ever gave up, fought to the bitter end and that's how I'll always remember him."

Boucher was the first 'keeper to take 500 Test catches and Arthur was in no doubt of his quality as a gloveman.

"I think he's right up there (with the best wicketkeepers), you have a look at his batting and wicketkeeping stats and they're phenomenal."

In the short term, AB de Villiers, primarily a batsman but who has kept for South Africa, will take over for the first Test at The Oval on July 19.

"They do need to get over it, I'm sure they will. He's going to be missed hugely though," said Arthur.

"I remember the series we (South Africa) won here in 2008, the Test match we won at Edgbaston was on the back of a very good innings by Graeme Smith, but Bouch was there at the end of it.

"I remember him telling me at tea time, he said 'coach if I'm at the wicket, and I will be there, we're going to win the series, we didn't come all the way to lose this'.

"That just typified exactly what he was like. He was always in there, he was always up for a challenge.

"I've been in contact, and it is uncertain for him. Let's just hope that he gets his eyesight back and everything's good."


  • mojay786 - 2012-07-11 01:52

    didn't care for Boucher much,glad he is finally gone and give better talent an opportunity to shine.How many good wicket keepers we lost in this tenure of Bouchers selection.That's why we haven't won a World Cup yet,imagine if we had a proper batsman like Gilchrist,jeez we could've done so much better.Arthurs comments hold little weight as he was just as dismal a coach.the trio of Boucher,Kallis and Smith with Arthur as President were a$$holes with the younger "non-white" players selected and in doing that took confidence away from younger players trying to break through,maybe as they felt under threat with new blood.anyhow here's to new beginnings CSA.give the Proteas someone that can score BIG runs consistently.

      Paul Eveleigh - 2012-07-11 04:27

      bitter much? knob!

      bernard.ingram - 2012-07-11 04:36

      What a *%^*%&*$ comment! Boucher was world class, period.

      beth.cameron.94 - 2012-07-11 06:21

      Neither here not there if you liked the man or not - have a look at the man's career history, he holds more records than any other Wicketkeeper in the history of the game. He was in the side for exactly that - being the Wicketkeepr, not as a, as you put it, "proper batsman".

      angi.venter - 2012-07-11 06:39

      You're an idiot mojay. You obviously don't know much about cricket if you're making comments like that!

      ian.levinson.7 - 2012-07-11 06:47

      why dont you go rather, chop

      stephen.vaneyssen1 - 2012-07-11 06:58

      mojay786 you are sick my friend. Ask all those wicket keepers who "did not make it" who was their hero - Mark Boucher. You obviously know little about cricket. You are obviously one of those "I know all" arm-chair experts. Go get a life man. Maybe play marbles somewhere with a little blind boy. You can walk away as the "champ"

      gerald.parker.9847 - 2012-07-11 07:42

      Mojay786 From your name I can see waht you are and from your comments regarding Boucher Kallis and Smith I Know that you know them because you are just passing through what you called them. To me you are just a PIG

      hugh.olphart - 2012-07-11 08:49

      and in one ignorant sweeping comment, you have just discredited three of the worlds best and top rated cricket players. Not the opinion of N24 readers, but those of Cricket legends. Please note all, we have a cricket maestro in our midst! We are so honoured to have you on our side. Chop.

      ken.fisher.545849 - 2012-07-11 09:41

      Not many teams in the world have a "proper" batsmen like Gilchrist , never mind a wicketkeeper/batsman ! Who other than AB in SA cricket is able to keep and score big runs ? Tell us ! - 2012-07-12 00:20

      appreciate your opinion. Obviously you were denied a berth at a level of cricket, that you are sad to let go. But do not deny the legacy of Mark Boucher,

  • johnny.mynhardt - 2012-07-11 07:30

    Here is the BIG question. Will Gary Kirsten have the guts to select the best available keeper ( Heino Kuhn ) or will he be forced into another selection ? Argue as much as you want, the facts are that Heino has the best record over an extented period of all the replacements available.

      lindy.leroux - 2012-07-11 13:33

      Between heino and Dane Villas! " J "

  • danie.vanvuuren.75 - 2012-07-11 07:58

    Let us give Bouch the respect he deserves HE SERVED HIS COUNTRY WELL

  • mojay786 - 2012-07-11 13:07


      bernard.ingram - 2012-07-11 18:29

      stop talking to yourself!!!

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