at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Proteas stalwart Mark Boucher retires from international cricket in August, but he says he would stay on for one more tour if the right people approached him.
The 35-year-old wicketkeeper, who was honoured by Cricket SA for 15 years of dedicated service this week, planned to bow out after the third Test against England at Lords in August.
“I've spoken to a couple of people and they've said it's my last tour, but if people who count ask me to finish off against the Australians, then I'd have to think about it,” Boucher said..
“I do understand that playing against Australia is a massive competition and if I get asked by my coach, Gary Kirsten, to stay on and play, then I might seriously consider it.”
Boucher who has played 147 Tests after making his debut against Pakistan in 1997, said he held Kirsten in high regard, both as a player and as a coach.
He felt it would be difficult to refuse a request from Kirsten but, at the same time, stressed he was not hinting at an extended career.
“My mind is set on finishing after England, hopefully playing all three Test matches, and finishing my career on 150 Tests for my country,” he said.
“If that happens, I would walk away very happily.
“There is just one little 'if' – if my coach asked me – but I'm not putting any pressure on him.
“The only way I would go against my decision was if there was a serious question asking if I could stay on.
“At this stage in my international career, I'm finishing after Lords.”
Boucher, who has taken a world record 555 Test dismissals behind the stumps, said the recognition from CSA at the annual awards ceremony on Wednesday was totally unexpected but much appreciated.
“They didn't have to do it. It's not something I really wanted or asked for, but it's just nice to know that people do appreciate the things you do and have done for your country,” he said.
“It was nice having my parents next to me when I received the award and I know that they feel proud.”
As he approached the twilight of his career, Boucher felt he had a deeper appreciation of the privileges and friendships he had experienced over the years.
“I've really enjoyed every single moment of my career,” he said.
“A lot of people ask me about the highlights of my career but there have been so many.
“But just spending time with the team on tour, where they become your family, is special.
“I've experienced so many different cultures and toured different places around the world and it's only when you get towards the end of your career that you realise that those are the important things.
“I'm honoured and it's a privilege to be able to say I've done it.
“I've had plenty of good memories so I'm just looking forward to going to England and enjoying myself in my last tour.” – Sapa