Wednesday, May 19, 2010


Mark Boucher will not be keeping wickets for South Africa in the 2 Twenty20 matches and 5 ODIs on their ongoing tour of West Indies. AB De Villiers will be handed the gloves behind the wickets.

"AB will be starting with the gloves in the limited-overs matches," Smith said ahead of the first Twenty20 international in Antigua. "There is a new selection committee and a few new ideas. We only have something like 15 ODIs before we get to India for the World Cup, so we have to make every one of them count."

Recall something? About 8 years back, a certain Rahul Dravid had donned a similar role to create a better balance in the Indian side prior to the World Cup 2003 held in South Africa. India eventually ended up as the runners up of the tournament.

There are some extremely similar stats here. Before Dravid became a regular keeper for India from 29th May 2002, he had kept wickets in 9 matches for India. AB De Villiers has kept in 8 matches till now... the last one being the Perth ODI against Australia on 30th January 2009.

De Villiers has a brilliant batting record in his short wicketkeeping career in ODIs thus far... an average of 105.25 at a strike rate of 86.98. Dravid kept in 27 out of the 28 ODIs that India played from 29th May 2002 till the start of the World Cup 2003 campaign for India on 12th February 2003 against the Netherlands. De Villiers might get fewer chances than Dravid... but the athlete that he is... De Villiers should be able to hone his skills well.

This move by the South African team management is not a long-term move... but the World Cup 2011 is not too far away. Any short term measure that can be justified in the basis that it will help the team during the World Cup is a good one.

As much as I have liked Mark Boucher over the years, it is true that he is not getting any younger and his recent performances have forced this decision. It is time he takes a good look at his game. If he feels that he can come out of his current slump, he should continue... but if he has any doubts, he should hang up his boots respectfully. There is not a lot of time for the World Cup that is to start on 19th February 2011. He does deserve a respectful exit... that's for sure!

No comments: