‘AB’ reckoned ‘AB’ should give it a go
Towards the end of the Australian tour last summer I engaged one of the game's best over breakfast. Allan Border and I were hotel-mates during that truncated series and that afforded us many hours to pontificate the problems of the world over breakfast or at the bar.
After solving all the world's issues we then always dabbled in the far more complicated subject of cricket ... and often the unfathomable correlation between cricket and common sense!
One sunny morning I placed the subject of Mark Boucher's successor on the 'bored' meeting agenda. Allan Border blurted out the name "Gilchrist". I responded that the last time I checked he was not South African! AB proceeded to elaborate. This giant of the game then explained what a difference someone of that calibre made to the Australian team and how he propelled them into advantageous positions through both his extraordinary skill and his ability to allow selection flexibility.
He looked at me and freely admitted that he was not au fait with other 'keeping contenders, but he delivered a simple solution that would provide similar impetus to the South African team that Gilchrist presented for Australia. “AB.” he said.
He further explained that it was too good an opportunity to miss out on. AB said AB was definitely worth a chance. He added that if it did not negatively affect his batting and he could still deliver in the top six, then South Africa suddenly have a distinct winner that will take the test team to another level. That was his final verdict.
We were of course not to know the circumstances that were later to deliver that scenario.
I feel desperately sorry for Mark Boucher that his career has ended in this fashion. The horrific circumstances that brought about such an abrupt halt are shocking. It is just extremely sad, full stop. In fact I am struggling still to get my head around it.
Mark Boucher epitomised all that we like in a sportsman, the determination to scrap and fight and to dig deep to gain ascendancy. He never ever threw in the towel and he certainly won’t now.
I wish Mark the very best in his recovery and thank him for what he had done for the game of cricket. Cricketers like him make the game far better.
AB called it back in December. AB it is for now and how exciting that option may prove to be.