Mark Boucher

Mark Verdon Boucher (born 3 December 1976) is a South African cricket coach and former cricketer who played all three formats of the game. Boucher is regarded as one of the best wicket-keeper batsmen of all time, and holds the record for the most Test dismissals by a wicket-keeper, with 532 catches and 555 total dismissals.

Mark Boucher
Boucher playing his last game for South Africa against Somerset in July 2012
Personal information
Full name
Mark Verdon Boucher
Born (1976-12-03) 3 December 1976 (age 46)
East London, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Height5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
BowlingRight arm medium
RoleWicketkeeper batsman
International information
National side
Test debut (cap 267)17 October 1997 v Pakistan
Last Test3 January 2012 v Sri Lanka
ODI debut (cap 46)16 January 1998 v New Zealand
Last ODI28 October 2011 v Australia
ODI shirt no.9
T20I debut (cap 2)21 October 2005 v New Zealand
Last T20I10 May 2010 v Pakistan
Domestic team information
2009–2010Royal Challengers Bangalore
2011Kolkata Knight Riders
Head coaching information
2019–South Africa
Career statistics
Competition Test ODI FC LA
Matches 147 295 212 365
Runs scored 5,515 4,686 8,803 6,218
Batting average 30.30 28.57 33.34 28.19
100s/50s 5/35 1/26 10/53 2/35
Top score 125 147* 134 147*
Balls bowled 8 32
Wickets 1 1
Bowling average 6.00 26.00
5 wickets in innings 0 0
10 wickets in match 0 0
Best bowling 1/6 1/6
Catches/stumpings 532/23 403/22 712/37 484/31
Source: Cricinfo, 10 September 2017

He has represented Border, Warriors, South Africa, Africa XI, ICC World XI and Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League. He is currently the head coach of the South African National Men's Cricket Team.

He had been a regular feature of the South African side since the 1997/1998 tour to Australia, until his retirement from international cricket in July 2012 after a serious eye injury against Somerset.[1]

In 2021, during the Cricket South Africa's (CSA) Social Justice and Nation Building (SJN) transformation public hearings, Paul Adams claimed under oath[2] that Mark Boucher and other teammates racially abused him by calling him a "brown shit" in a team song.[3]

Early lifeEdit

Born in East London, Boucher was educated at Selborne College where he was coached by Richard Pybus.[4]

International careerEdit

Wicket-keeping roleEdit

From the time he replaced Dave Richardson until his retirement, Boucher was South Africa's first-choice wicketkeeper and is widely regarded as one of, if not the, greatest wicketkeepers South Africa has ever had.[5] He holds the record for the most dismissals (catches and stumpings) in Test cricket.[6] He reached the record originally when he overtook the former Australian wicketkeeper Ian Healy in the first test of the Bank Alfalah Test Series versus Pakistan in Karachi on 3 October 2007 when he stumped Umar Gul off the bowling of Paul Harris. He then lost the record to Adam Gilchrist before regaining it when he caught Mushfiqur Rahim of Bangladesh in February 2008.[7]

Boucher is also third[8] on the all-time list in One Day Internationals.

Batting credentialsEdit

He once held the record for the highest score by a nightwatchman in Test cricket with 125 for South Africa v Zimbabwe at Harare in November 1999.[9] On 12 March 2006 he hit the winning runs for South Africa against Australia in what had been the Greatest One Day International ever played.[10]

Later in 2006, on 20 September, he made his maiden ODI century, hitting an unbeaten 147 against Zimbabwe from a mere 68 balls. His hundred came up off just 44 balls, the second-fastest ODI century ever by a South African after AB de Villiers. Boucher did benefit, however, from some very poor Zimbabwean fielding, being dropped no fewer than six times during his innings.[11] He played over one hundred consecutive ODIs for his country and is one of only eleven players, including Hansie Cronjé and Shaun Pollock, to achieve this.[12]

In February 2007 he and Jacques Kallis combined to hit Mohammad Asif for 28 runs off an over in an ODI at SuperSport Park in Centurion. It broke the South African record for most runs off an over which was previously held by both Shaun Pollock and Graeme Smith with 27. However, this was later broken by Herschelle Gibbs with 36 runs off one over, the most possible without no-balls or wides.[13]

Vice captaincyEdit

In the period while the team was under Shaun Pollock's leadership, Boucher was the regular vice-captain of the team and lead the team in tests four times. These matches include a victory over Australia, an achievement which Pollock could not manage.

Breaking recordsEdit

Boucher started his 2007 Cricket World Cup campaign in good form with a 21-ball half-century, the then fastest in World Cup history (before being beaten by Brendon McCullum's 20-ball effort six days later) – scoring 75 not out against the Netherlands as South Africa scored 353 for 4 wickets in a rain-shortened World Cup match. However, this was overshadowed by Herschelle Gibbs's six sixes in an over, the 3rd time ever in world cricket and the first time in a One Day International match, and thus in the World Cup.[14]

He became the first wicketkeeper in the history of test cricket to reach the milestone of 400 dismissals when he caught Danish Kaneria off the bowling of Makhaya Ntini on 10 October 2007 in the second test of the Bank Alfalah Test Series against Pakistan at Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore.[15]

Mark Boucher training at the Sydney Cricket Ground in January 2009

Despite being South Africa's consistent wicket-keeper for a long time, age meant that batsman AB de Villiers was given a chance with the gloves and he impressed. However, de Villiers is one of the team's best outfielders and therefore Boucher continued to feature in the team.

He participated in the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 and the South African coach Corrie van Zyl said that both Boucher and Herschelle Gibbs have the chance to get back in the team. He stated that Boucher will get his chance in the team provided that he performs in the domestic ODI tournament and that both of them had a good chance in playing for the 2011 Cricket World Cup[16] He was however still selected for the Test series against Pakistan and continues to be South Africa's number one test wicket-keeper[17] Also during that time Boucher recovered from his six-week shoulder injury and stated that he is desperate for a return to international cricket. He stated that his main aim was to participate in the 2011 Cricket World Cup.[18]

Eye injury and subsequent retirementEdit

Boucher is surrounded by the South African team immediately after suffering his eye injury against Somerset in 2012.

Boucher suffered a serious eye injury on 9 July 2012, after being struck on his left eye by a bail.[19] He was not wearing a protective helmet or glasses when he was struck by the bail after leg-spinner Imran Tahir bowled Somerset's Gemaal Hussain.[20] Following surgery to the eyeball, Boucher was ruled out of the rest of the tour. Due to the severity of the injury, Boucher—who had planned to retire at the end of the tour—retired from International Cricket on 10 July.[21][22]

There was no damage to the retina, so it was felt that there was a chance for Boucher to recover some vision in the damaged eye.[23] After undergoing two operations on his injured eye, surgeons announced that they were "cautiously optimistic".[24]


In December 2019, Boucher was appointed as head coach of the South Africa national cricket team.[25]

Boucher was appointed head coach of the Titans in August 2016, despite having no prior coaching experience. He led the Titans to five domestic titles - two One Day Cups, two T20 Challenge titles and one four-day Sunfoil Series trophy.[26]


Tributes included comments from Shaun Pollock and Kevin Pietersen. Pollock congratulated him on a great career, while Pietersen called for more support from fans and those involved in sports, saying "Let’s keep it going! Bouch is a fighter!".[27]

In May 2017, he was named Coach of the Year at Cricket South Africa's annual awards.[28]

  • South Africa Player of the Year 1998
  • South Africa Player of the Year 2000
  • South Africa Player of the Year 2006
  • Wisden Cricketer of the Year 2009


  • Holds the record for the most dismissals as wicketkeeper in all forms of international cricket (999).[29]
  • Holds the record for the most catches taken by a wicketkeeper in all forms of international cricket (952).[30]
  • Holds the record for playing the most T20 innings without a career duck (76).[31]
  • Most byes conceded by a wicketkeeper in a T20I innings (15).[32]
  • He along with Justin Kemp set the record for the highest 6th wicket stand in ICC Champions Trophy history (131).[33]


On 23 August 2021, Boucher issued an apology for past racist behaviour, admitting to having participated in activities that were discriminatory and racially offensive.[34] Boucher admitted to having been part of a group that sang offensive songs and used racial nicknames for non-Caucasian teammates.[35] In the wake of the admission and apology, there were calls for Boucher to resign or be sacked as head coach of the South African Cricket team.[36] Despite handing over a written submission as an apology for his conduct, some say that Boucher lacks common sense, lacks sensitivity and has a "lack of understanding of South Africa's racial history".[37] The allegations regarding his racist conduct have also raised eyebrows over his coaching tenure with the South African side in the future, due to the possibility of the CSA terminating his contract.[38]

Further investigations revealed that Boucher influenced the team's culture by dealing only with white players concerns regarding the Black Lives Matter movement and it was evident during the course of the 2021 ICC Men's T20 World Cup, with a minor few players on the South African side refusing to take a knee before the start of play.[39][40] Boucher was also accused of having maintained poor player management during his coaching tenure with the assistant coach Enoch Nkwe. He was accused in the charge sheet for not delegating tasks to Nkwe as well as for not giving proper clarification to Nkwe which made it impossible for Nkwe to work with Boucher.[41] In May 2022, Cricket South Africa (CSA) withdrew charges against him.[42]


  1. ^ "Boucher calls it a day after eye injury". Wisden India. 10 July 2012. Archived from the original on 26 March 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2013.
  2. ^ "SJN Hearings: Paul Adams scared of being victimised". Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  3. ^ "Many shades of grey in Boucher battle". Cricbuzz. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  4. ^ "Wisden Cricketer of the Year 2009 – Mark Boucher". Cricinfo.
  5. ^ "Yahoo Cricket". Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  6. ^ "Most dismissals as wicketkeeper in test cricket". cricinfo.
  7. ^ South Africa on brink of victory BBC News retrieved 25 February 2008
  8. ^ "Records | One-Day Internationals | Wicketkeeping records | Most dismissals in career | ESPN Cricinfo". Cricinfo. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  9. ^ 2nd Test: Zimbabwe v South Africa at Harare, 11–14 Nov 1999 Cricinfo retrieved 25 February 2008
  10. ^ AUS vs SA, 12/3/2006 BBC News retrieved 25 February 2008
  11. ^ Boucher blitz blows Zimbabwe away Cricinfo retrieved 25 February 2008
  12. ^ Most consecutive ODIs. Archived 21 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine Cricinfo retrieved 25 February 2008
  13. ^ Most runs off one over Archived 6 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine retrieved 25 February 2008
  14. ^ SA vs NET, World Cup 2007 Cricinfo retrieved 25 February 2008
  15. ^ Pakistan v South Africa at Lahore, 08-12 Oct 2007 Cricinfo retrieved 25 February 2008
  16. ^ "Boucher needs to improve in limited-overs – van Zyl". Cricinfo. 23 September 2010.
  17. ^ "Colin Ingram gets maiden limited-overs call-up". Cricinfo. 21 September 2010.
  18. ^ "Boucher working towards limited-overs return". Cricinfo. 6 November 2010.
  19. ^ "Boucher ruled out of England tour". Wisden India. 10 July 2012.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "Mark Boucher suffers eye injury in South Africa tour match". BBC. 9 July 2012.
  21. ^ South Africa's Mark Boucher ruled out of England Test series BBC News retrieved 10 July 2012
  22. ^ "Mark Boucher retired from international cricket". 10 July 2012.
  23. ^ "Boucher may not lose vision in injured eye". 15 July 2012.
  24. ^ "Mark Boucher's second eye operation 'very positive'". 19 July 2012.
  25. ^ "Mark Boucher appointed head coach of South Africa men's team". International Cricket Council.
  26. ^ "Boucher equipped to coach Proteas, says Titans CEO". Sport. Retrieved 26 December 2021.
  27. ^ "World hails Boucher, a South African hero". Wisden India. 10 July 2012. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
  28. ^ "De Kock dominates South Africa's awards". ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 14 May 2017.
  29. ^ "Most dismissals as wicketkeeper in all forms of international cricket". cricinfo.
  30. ^ "Most catches as wicketkeeper in all forms of international cricket". cricinfo.
  31. ^ "Records / Twenty20 matches / Batting records / No ducks in career". cricinfo.
  32. ^ "Records / Twenty20 Internationals / Wicketkeeping records records / Most byes conceded in an innings". cricinfo.
  33. ^ "Cricket Records | Records | ICC Champions Trophy (ICC KnockOut) | Highest partnerships by wicket | ESPN Cricinfo". Cricinfo. Retrieved 18 June 2017.
  34. ^ Moonda, Firdose (23 August 2021). "Bavuma: Boucher has provided 'clarity and context' regarding discrimination allegations". ESPN. Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  35. ^ PTI (23 August 2021). "Mark Boucher apologises for singing offensive songs with his teammates". Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  36. ^ "Mark Boucher should resign or be sacked as Proteas coach". Retrieved 23 August 2021.
  37. ^ "Boucher charged over racism claims". BBC Sport. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  38. ^ "South Africa cricket coach Boucher charged over racism allegation". Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  39. ^ "SJN follow-up: CSA will argue in favour of dismissing Mark Boucher at disciplinary hearing". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  40. ^ "'Mark Boucher only dealt with white players' concerns during BLM issue' - Cricket South Africa charge sheet". Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  41. ^ "SJN follow-up: CSA will argue in favour of dismissing Mark Boucher at disciplinary hearing". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 22 January 2022.
  42. ^ "CSA withdraw charges of gross misconduct against Mark Boucher". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 10 May 2022.

External linksEdit

Preceded by South African Test cricket captain
Succeeded by
Shaun Pollock