Mark Boucher shared his thoughts on the irreplaceable role of Tests in cricket and how the format has evolved to be more dynamic over the years owing to the rise of T20s. He went on to comment upon England's brand of aggressive cricket and how it can be tough to implement given the stakes involved.
Mark Boucher's reign in Test cricket as the head coach of South Africa ended in disappointing fashion as his team lost the last two Tests against England having won the opener emphatically. The third Test was played under extraordinary circumstances and saw the second day being suspended owing to Queen Elizabeth's death after the first day had already been washed out. Nevertheless, it took England just a little over six sessions to wrap up a comfortable nine wickets victory in a low scoring game.
The former wicket-keeper expressed his adoration for Tests and the need to protect it amidst the rise of T20s, while acknowledging how it has been impacted by white-ball cricket.
"To lose sight of Test cricket and lose games is not great. I’m a purist. I love test cricket to bits. It’s the purest form of the game and one that we really need to look after,” Boucher was quoted as saying to reporters by India Today.
"The heads in the game need to get together and find a way to play more test cricket. It’s exciting, especially with the way the games are being played now. It’s very seldom that you have draws. The game’s moved forward, maybe because of T20 cricket. Guys are playing shots they would never usually play. It’s attacking and it’s a nice game to watch. So the more we see it, the better it will be for everyone," he added.
Boucher's Proteas became the latest victims of England's aggressive brand of cricket labelled 'Bazball', given it was the brainchild of head coach Brendon McCullum in tandem with skipper Ben Stokes. After adopting this new philosophy, the side has triumphed in six of seven Tests but Boucher believes going gung-ho can have adverse effects in the long run.
"It’s one thing to say to guys to go out there and play with freedom, but there are consequences when they are fighting for their test spots and fighting for their careers. It’s a fine line as a coach because a guy comes in and you don’t want to change him. This is not an academy of learning. This is Test cricket," he pointed out.
"We give the players freedom to play, to express themselves. Each and every guy. The way that England would like to go out and play, you need to have the characters to do that. A lot of their guys are good white-ball cricketers as well," Boucher concluded..