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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Mark Boucher timeline: A tumultuous roller-coaster ride

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Cape Town – Cricket South Africa released a statement on Monday afternoon just hours after the Proteas’ Test series defeat to England, that coach Mark Boucher will vacate his post after the T20 Cup despite one year left on his contract.

It has been a tumultuous roller-coaster ride since Boucher’s appointment three years ago with the Proteas scaling record highs and extreme lows on the field, while off the field he navigated one minefield after the other.

Zaahier Adams takes a look at the important moments of Boucher’s period at the helm of the Proteas.

December 2019 – Appointed on a four-year contract by new Director of Cricket Graeme Smith

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January 2020 – Starts his tenure with a first Test win over England at Centurion, but it proves to be a false dawn as SA lose the series 3-1.

March 2020 – Wins his first series as the Proteas beat Australia 3-0 in ODIs at home.

August 2020 – Proteas go on a culture camp after Lungi Ngidi is attacked by former white players about his stance on the Black Lives Matter movement.

November 2020 – Under Boucher’s leadership the Proteas decide not to kneel as a collective in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

December 2020 – England are the first team to arrive in SA to play under Covid-19 bio-secure restrictions. The Proteas lose the T20 series 3-0, before England depart early due to Covid-19 fears.

January 2021 – Proteas win their first Test series under Boucher, beating Sri Lanka 2-0 at home.

February 2021 – The Proteas return to Pakistan for the first time in 14 years, but lose the Test series 2-0 and T20 series 2-1.

March 2021 – Pakistan return to SA to win both the ODI and T20 series.

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April 2021 – At this stage of his tenure Boucher had won three of 13 series across all formats.

June 2021 – The turnaround on the field begins with the Proteas beating the West Indies 2-0 in the Test series and 3-2 in the T20s in the Caribbean.

July 2021 – Drama off the field catches alight when former Proteas teammate Paul Adams drops a bombshell at the Social Justice and Nation-building hearings confirming that Boucher was one of the players who sang a team song referring to Adams as a “brown sh**”

July 2021 – SA lose a first-ever ODI to Ireland.

August 2021 – Boucher submits a 14-page affidavit to the SJN hearings, responding to allegations of racism levelled at him during his playing days, and apologises to Adams.

August 2021 – Proteas assistant coach Enoch Nkwe resigns due to differences of opinion with Boucher.

October 2021 – The Proteas head to the T20 Cup in the United Arab Emirates on the back of two successive 3-0 series wins over Ireland and Sri Lanka.

October 2021 – Star opening batter Quinton de Kock refuses to adhere to a CSA directive that the entire Proteas team has to take the knee and withdraws from a T20 Cup game against the West Indies. This places scrutiny on the Proteas’ team’s culture under Boucher once again.

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November 2021 – Four out of five wins at the T20 Cup is not enough to see the Proteas qualify for the knockout stages, as Boucher fails to lead the team beyond the group phase in his first ICC assignment.

December 2021 – CSA finds Boucher’s appointment as national team coach “flawed” after a 235-page Ombudsman report.

January 2022 – The highlight of Boucher’s tenure with the Proteas shocking Virat Kohli’s India 2-1 in a Test series before wiping the tourists away 3-0 in the ODIs to complete the double.

January 2022 – The success is bitter-sweet though with CSA charging Boucher with “gross misconduct” for the racist allegations levelled against him by Adams.

February 2022 – The unpredictability of the Proteas under Boucher is best illustrated in New Zealand when after slumping to SA’s second biggest Test defeat ever in the series opener, the team responds by levelling the series the following week in Christchurch.

March 2022 – The Proteas lose an ODI to Bangladesh on home soil for the first time, before slumping even further to a historic maiden series defeat to former Proteas coach Russell Domingo’s Tigers. The reversal leaves the Proteas’ chances of automatic qualification for the 2023 Cup in jeopardy.

April 2022 – The Test series against Bangladesh fares much better as the Proteas close off a successful home summer in the longest format with a 2-0 victory, without five regulars who opted to participate in the IPL.

May 2022 – Adams confirms he will not testify as a CSA witness in a case against Boucher, and subsequently all charges are dropped against the national team coach.

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July 2022 – The Proteas win their first ever white-ball series in England claiming the T20 series 2-1 and also sharing the ODI series 1-1.

August 2022 – Another T20 series win is claimed 2-0 in Bristol against Ireland, before a marvellous innings and 12-run triumph at Lord’s in the first Test against England.

September 2022 – All the highs of Lord’s is a distant memory as the Proteas batters collapse in a heap at Old Trafford and The Oval as England come from behind to claim a 2-1 Test series win.

September 2022 – In the aftermath of the series Test defeat, CSA release a statement that Boucher will end his tenure at the forthcoming T20 Cup in Australia as he “has decided to resign in order to pursue other opportunities in line with his future career and personal objectives”.



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