Calcutta: South Africa’s coach, Gary Kirsten, has been tapping Mark Boucher, who is fighting to regain at least some vision in his left eye, for “ideas” during the ongoing Test series in England.
Kirsten’s wards are up 1-0 in the three-match showdown.
“Sometimes, there are things which you can spot from a distance... Gary spoke to me before I flew back home (around four weeks ago) and asked that I let him know if ideas cropped up,” Boucher told The Telegraph on Thursday morning, before the start of the third and final Test, at Lord’s.
In a rare interview (certainly the first to any journalist from India) after his “freak injury” on July 9, during the South Africa vs Somerset match in Taunton, Boucher added: “I have given ideas, after observing a few things on the TV, but it wouldn’t be proper to go into specifics... A few of them have been implemented... It’s not that everything works, though.”
Boucher is also in “regular contact” with most of his one-time teammates.
Struck by a flying bail, Boucher has lost the “lens, iris and pupil” of the affected eye. Sadly, there’s no guarantee that a part of the vision will return.
It has been tough, but Boucher has accepted the situation.
Had Mansur Ali Khan ‘Tiger’ Pataudi been alive, he would surely have been among the first to offer words of comfort.
The injury forced Boucher, 35, to retire before the series when he’d been wanting to quit after Lord’s. For the record, he’s the most successful ’keeper (555 dismissals) in Test cricket.
With 472 victims, Adam Gilchrist holds the record in ODIs. Boucher’s behind the Australian.
“It’s a freak injury... Such injuries can happen to sportsmen and to sportswomen... Life has changed, but my family, friends and so many well-wishers have kept me going,” Boucher pointed out.
Last week, in an emotional statement, Boucher appealed: “Although I appreciate the sentiments expressed, I don’t want people to feel sorry for me... This is just another challenge in my life...”
Boucher’s down an eye at this point in time, but his spirit is far from crushed.
South Africa need only to draw at Lord’s to get back the No.1 ranking, which they lost to India in December 2009. India, in turn, surrendered that to England last summer.
“Regaining the No.1 ranking in Test cricket has been our aim, but we don’t look too far ahead, never get ahead of ourselves. The process is important and our guys have been taking it one match at a time. There’s merit in focusing on the present... If we do get to the top, we intend staying there for a period of time,” Boucher said.
Mickey Arthur, who is with Australia now, had been South Africa’s coach when they first became No.1. Graeme Smith was and is the (Test) captain.