The Telegraph
Saturday , February 16 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Another hero, Mark, to be feted today

Calcutta: Even as the South Africans, who’re passionate about sport and sporting heroes, come to grips with Oscar Pistorius’ fall from a very high pedestal, Mark Boucher will be feted by teammates on Saturday.

The No.1 ’keeper overall, in Tests and ODIs, and the most successful in Test cricket (555 dismissals) is a hero in his own right.

[Adam Gilchrist, with a total of 888 victims overall, is a distant No.2 — 91 behind Boucher.]

Indeed, Day III of the ongoing South Africa-Pakistan Test at Newlands is being dedicated to Boucher, who had to quit after an injury last July left him with negligible vision in his left eye. A flying bail did the damage.

The injury occurred during a tour match in Taunton, against Somerset, in the lead-up to the Test series. Boucher had been standing-up to Imran Tahir, sans the helmet.

According to a Cricket South Africa (CSA) source, who spoke from Cape Town on Friday, captain Graeme Smith will present a memento on behalf of the team at the tea break.

The team’s sponsor, Castle Lager, is also expected to make a presentation. CSA have already feted the 36-year-old Boucher.

As Boucher is passionate about the “conservation” of rhinos, the day will feature an awareness campaign as well. To take the conservation bit forward, Boucher and South African Breweries, the makers of Castle Lager, have formed a “non-profit company.”

Boucher is looking forward to his reunion with teammates. He told The Telegraph: “I’m very grateful for the amazing career I had... Although things didn’t end up the way I planned, the ongoing support has just been amazing.”

The date hasn’t been fixed, but Boucher will undergo another surgery, in April. Countless fingers will be kept crossed then.