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Ken Borland


Outstanding results but the negative & destructive still want Boucher Out!

Posted on January 30, 2022 by Ken

It is typical of the negativity and destructiveness of so many in South Africa that even after the Proteas completed an outstanding 3-0 ODI whitewash of India, to go with their remarkable triumph in the Test series, there were still choruses of ‘Boucher Out!’ from many of cricket’s version of the RET faction and the naively woke.

Of course the major reason for those wanting Boucher’s head to roll has got nothing to do with what happens out on the field, which has sadly been a recurring theme in South African cricket for way too long. It is because of alleged racial slurs that date back 20 years to Boucher’s early playing days with the Proteas.

It is highly improbable that Boucher was the only one singing the offensive song in question, so why is he being singled out? Because it is the continuation of the same witch-hunt put in place by the same people who took Cricket South Africa to the brink of ruin before the Fundudzi Report and Stavros Nicolaou’s Interim Board sorted things out.

Of course, justice needs to be done for sins of the past, but when they involve entire teams and took place in a time very different from our own from which we are peering back in judgement, then rough justice will cause more harm than good.

Boucher’s evidence before his disciplinary tribunal will probably point out that, due to the total lack of sensitivity training and the state of society as a whole back in the 1990s, it was not just Paul Adams who had a nasty song written about him (the author of which is apparently a major surprise). The White players were called names too, as were the Black Africans and the Coloureds. For those who have never been in a fines meeting, it is all meant to be about poking fun. However misguided the lyrics were.

But confidence in CSA and their ability to ensure we have a competitive Proteas team will be severely dented if they summarily dismiss Boucher, just as the national side are starting to bloom again.

The last two months have seen not just any team vanquished, but the mighty Indians, the superpowers of the game and ranked No.1 in Tests before being knocked off their perch by South Africa.

To make the triumph even more memorable, the Proteas managed to overturn the previous history between the two teams when it came to playing and bowling spin. India’s spinners were previously able to exert a stranglehold over the South African batsman, including during the February 2018 series over here.

But in this series, the Proteas batsmen were terrific against the turning ball, in conditions that were going to suit the visitors, and they have said much of the credit for that should go to Boucher and batting consultant Justin Sammons.

And then when India batted, they were dominated by Keshav Maharaj and Tabraiz Shamsi, with even Aiden Markram keeping them under pressure, to such an extent that South Africa won the crucial middle-overs battle conclusively. The way the Proteas have embraced the use of spin and have become one of the best sides in the world in that department is another reason to commend Boucher, who has instituted a sea-change in strategic thinking.

Boucher’s immense playing experience is obviously helpful to the team as they navigate the varied challenges of the international game, but his knowledge of various team cultures and environments can also serve to help the current team as they forge a new identity.

When Boucher made his debut for the national team in 1997, the culture was pretty rotten with new arrivals treated very much as juniors and a threat to the places of the senior players. He lived through that and learnt from it, and he was also a key part of the Graeme Smith era when the team embraced Protea Fire and made big efforts to become more inclusive.

Getting rid of Boucher now would only serve as an exercise in bloodletting and scapegoating. CSA Boards have a history of giving baying mobs what they want; let’s hope Lawson Naidoo and Co can show stronger leadership at this crucial time.

0 to “Outstanding results but the negative & destructive still want Boucher Out!”

  1. Frank Thomas says:

    Once again, Kenny, you miss the point.

  2. Paul botha says:

    So true. If Boucher is to be brought to book for singing the “In the ring song” then the CSA should be naming all those who were in the team at that time and who would probably all have joined in with the song. Where are those players now? No guts to come forward and admit to being part of the fines meeting? They are too happy they have not been mentioned and will leave Boucher to take the heat.

  3. Ken, I obviously watch the Proteas from a distance without pretending to have any knowledge of politics within CSA. The turn around against India having lost the first test was truly remarkable. I had real concerns about batting technique at the top of the order but the resolve and success achieved across the top five was superb and this continued into the ODIs. I think that the Proteas are projecting such a unified picture of team harmony to the world on a par with the Blitzboks and Springboks who have done so for some time. Surely it is time to move beyond the past and focus on all that is good about the future. It is difficult to believe that people are not perhaps looking to play games of personal and or political power at the expense of the players and their cricket. I do hope that common sense and a focus on the positive will prevail. I must add that I was impressed with the way the team worked their way through the West Indies tour achieving success in that part of the world and they have grown somewhat since then in my humble view. Onward and upward.

    • Ken says:

      Hi Gordon, I 100% agree with everything you have said, thanks for taking the time to comment.
      So true that it might not always have looked pretty, but at the end of the day it was their resolve, resilience & determination that won the day for the Proteas.
      I agree that the sort of fighting spirit & sacrifice for each other they showed can only occur if it is a team in harmony.
      But the Boucher & Smith haters will have you believe it is a deeply divided dressingroom along race lines … for which there is no evidence.
      While I agree that there does need to be justice for the sins of the past, it cannot be at the expense of the future.
      Certain people are using the team for their own agendas & that does the players no favours … although it has in a way brought them closer together.
      You are correct that the West Indies tour was a turning point and they have grown steadily since then.
      Thanks again Gordon, hope you are keeping well and all the best for 2022!



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