Former Proteas wicketkeeper Mark Boucher has been named the new head coach of the Titans.
The 39-year-old, currently working as a consultant with the Proteas for their Test series against New Zealand, has been assigned the task of continuing the good work that Rob Walter put in before leaving the franchise to coach Otago in New Zealand in July.
The Titans are arguably the biggest and most successful franchise in the country at the moment, after they won two of the three domestic trophies on offer last season (Ram Slam T20 Challenge, Sunfoil Series).
The news has been the worst-kept secret over the last few days after reports surfaced over his appointment, with Titans CEO Jacques Faul refusing to comment until Monday morning’s official announcement. It’s a high-profile job for Boucher, considering he’s just getting his coaching career started.
Something he does boast is 147 Test caps’ worth of playing experience, which will certainly help his cause. He also played 295 ODIs and holds the record for the most Test dismissals (555). He has 999 dismissals in international cricket – 1 000 if you include his Test wicket. Boucher’s playing career came to an abrupt end when on tour in England in 2012, after he suffered a serious eye injury from being hit by a bail in a warm-up game.
Since then he has become a leading figure in rhino conservation.
‘I’ve always said I wanted to give myself a nice break away from the game, so the time is now to give back,’ Boucher said on the appointment.
‘I’ve been very fortunate to have been under a lot of successful coaches and now I’d like to think that I’m a lot more mature as a person, and in the pressure situations I will hope to bring some calmness to the side. I aim to create a great environment to allow the players to showcase their skills.’
‘We had good applications and it came down to who would be the right person for our squad in the current space we’re in,’ said Titans CEO Jacques Faul.
‘We wanted someone who would be credible and influential standing in front of the squad. Mark has the cricket side of things (experience) there, and we will help him develop as a coach and manager here. He’s a natural leader and thats what the squad needs at this stage.’
‘I’m very excited to have Mark on board, and he brings a lot of experience,’ added captain Henry Davids. ‘He’ll give us an extra X-factor. We want to lead South African cricket as a franchise and continue to win trophies. with fresh faces like mark it will help our players to improve as individuals. We’re all looking forward to it.’
Photo: Anesh Debiky/Gallo Images