Mark Boucher, the heartbeat of the South African team from the late 1990s to 2012, is hoping the experience and wisdom gained from all those years of playing and inspiring the changeroom will rub off on his new career as coach, with the 39-year-old set to land the job as the new Titans mentor.
Boucher’s stellar career, in which he played 147 Tests and 295 one-day internationals, and took the most dismissals in Test history, was ended on the 2012 tour of England when he suffered a serious eye injury after being hit by a bail in a warm-up game.
Since then, Boucher has become a leading figure in rhino conservation. He is with the Proteas squad in Durban at the moment, working as a consultant for the Test series against New Zealand.
The Titans coaching job is the best-paid franchise post in the country. The Centurion-based team won two of the three domestic trophies on offer last season, so the famously nuggety cricketer has landed a high-profile role at the start of his coaching career.
“I’m not sure where it’s going to take me, but I’ve always enjoyed imparting knowledge,” Boucher said this week when asked about his invitation to join the Titans’ coaching staff.
“I’ve been through quite a few coaches and teams and cultures in my career, and also eras. I was part of the old Proteas team, as well as the new. So the lessons I’ve learnt I’d be stupid not to use. I don’t really like the term ‘coach’. I’d like to be more of a man manager. The game has changed and you see specialist coaches come in more these days,” Boucher said.
Although Boucher’s tenacity and competitiveness were his most famous attributes, he said he was also a student of the technical side of the game and would certainly bring that into his coaching. Titans CEO Jacques Faul was unable to confirm Boucher’s appointment.
“The process has been completed and we have appointed a candidate that we feel can take the team forward and we will announce his name on Monday. Unfortunately we rannot speculate before that,” he said.