Top 5 wicketkeepers from South Africa
South African is one of the great sporting nations of the world and the country's achievements across a range of sports have been quite remarkable. The same holds good as far as cricket is concerned, and over the years, the nation has produced some of the finest cricketers in the world.
Despite being boycotted by other nations for around two decades due to their practice of apartheid, South Africa continued to produce excellent cricketers. Many of those were wicket-keepers and here is a brief look at 5 of the best wicket-keepers to have represented South Africa in international cricket.
#5 AB de Villiers
South African batting legend AB de Villiers excelled in a variety of sports before choosing to become a cricketer and as a cricketer, he is a bit of an all-rounder. De Villiers used to be a wicket-keeper batsman when he started out as a teenager and although he is known more for his batting prowess, he has kept wickets for his country quite often.
De Villiers' raw athleticism and ability to follow the trajectory of the ball make him an excellent wicket-keeper and over the years, he has kept wickets in all three formats of the game for the country. However, it was felt that wicket-keeping was hampering his abilities as a batsman, resulting in him giving up the gloves.
#4 John Waite
John Waite played for South Africa for 14 years from 1951 to 1965, and is generally regarded as the first great wicket-keeper that the country produced. In Tests, he recorded 124 catches and 17 stumpings, a tally that stood as a national record for many years before being broken by future South African wicket-keepers.
In addition to that, he was a combative batsman as well and scored 4 Test centuries in his career. Waite was the first South African to play in 50 Test matches and he still jointly holds the record for most dismissals (24) in a Test series by a South African wicket-keeper. Waite will forever be remembered as South Africa's first truly great wicket-keeper.
#3 Quinton de Kock
Quinton de Kock made his international debut for South Africa in 2013 and after cementing his place in the limited-overs sides, he is now a fixture in the Test side as well. De Kock might be better known for his scintillating stroke play in all formats of the game but as a wicket-keeper, he is right up there with the best in the business.
He is extremely agile and can fling himself either way to take catches while keeping to some of the best fast bowlers in the world. He is no mug while keeping to quality spin as well and hardly ever makes any errors. He is still only 24 and has already recorded 234 catches and 22 stumpings across formats.
De Kock will surely end up breaking, or at least getting close, to all South African wicket-keeping records by the time he hangs up his boots.
#2 Dave Richardson
Following South Africa's readmission to international cricket in 1991, Dave Richardson remained the country's ever-reliable man behind the stumps for around six years. Richardson was a throwback to the traditional wicket-keeper who went about his job quietly but efficiently.
He played 42 Test matches and 122 One day internationals in his career, over the course of which he took 298 catches (150 in Tests and 148 in ODIs) and stumped 19 unfortunate batsmen. It is also important to remember that Richardson kept wickets to some of the fastest bowlers in the world in the form of Allan Donald, Brett Schultz, and Fannie de Villiers among others. There is no doubt that Richardson will go down in history as one of South Africa's greatest wicket-keepers.
#1 Mark Boucher
Mark Boucher is not only South Africa's greatest wicket-keeper but one of the greatest of all time and holds the record for the highest number of dismissals in Test cricket. He recorded 555 dismissals (532 catches/23 stumpings) in total in 147 Tests spanning 15 years.
In addition to that, he represented South Africa in 295 ODIs and recorded 403 catches in addition to 22 stumpings. Boucher kept wickets to some of the finest bowlers in the world, ranging from Donald to Dale Steyn and the bowlers hardly ever had any reason to complain.
If the bowlers induced edges then Boucher would most definitely take them. Boucher was a combative, smart batsman as well and played plenty of crucial innings for South Africa across formats.