Ian Healy, Australia’s wicketkeeper before Adam Gilchrist, had 395 victims in 119 Tests. Mark Boucher’s just gone past him in his 103rd Test. Quite impressive really.
There are fewer draws these days and a couple of poorer teams, which goes some way towards explaining how Boucher managed to reach this point quicker than Healy, a superior keeper. But let’s not nitpick.
When England followers are dredging up the interminable ‘best wicketkeeper’ debate for the nth time, we often think of Mark Boucher’s early days. As we remember it, he really wasn’t that good.
Maybe it was because when we first saw him, he was playing in England, where many keepers struggle with swing. Whereas in other countries the ball will tend to swing quite predictably (if at all), in England’s damp atmosphere, it can go through several permutations of in-, out-, up- and down- swing after the ball pitches. Kamran Akmal looked all at sea a couple of years ago and even Adam Gilchrist dropped a whole host of chances in the 2005 Ashes.
It goes to show what can be achieved though, because Boucher’s standard steadily improved, until he reached the point where he wasn’t conceding byes and barely dropped a thing. Now he’s the world record holder.
Not a bad bat, either.