Ken Borland

By Ken Borland

Journalist


Mumbai Indians and the IPL a suitable next step for Boucher

The last couple of years have been rough for Mumbai and there will be pressure for Boucher to turn their fortunes around as quickly as possible.


When one leaves the job of national cricket coach “to pursue other opportunities in line with his future career and personal objectives”, then the IPL would be a most suitable next step, and Proteas mentor Mark Boucher was duly confirmed as the new head coach of the Mumbai Indians on Friday.

Boucher announced earlier this week that he would step down as the Proteas coach after the T20 World Cup next month in Australia, and the “pursue other opportunities” reason was attributed to Cricket South Africa CEO Pholetsi Moseki in their statement.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome Mark Boucher to Mumbai Indians. With his proven expertise on the field and off it as a coach, guiding his team to numerous victories, Mark will add immense value to MI and take forward its legacy,” Akash M. Ambani, the chairman of Reliance Jio Infocomm, the owners of the franchise, said.

Boucher has overseen a steady growth in the Proteas T20 team, such that they are now ranked third in the world and are considered dark horses for the World Cup crown in Australia.

Step up for Boucher

For Boucher, taking the coaching reins at a franchise as powerful as Mumbai Indians, the most successful IPL team in history with five titles since 2013, can almost be considered a step up, especially in terms of salary.

But the last couple of years have been rough for Mumbai and there will be pressure for Boucher to turn their fortunes around as quickly as possible, because they missed the playoffs in 2021 and finished last this year.

“It is an honour and privilege for me to be appointed as head coach of Mumbai Indians,” Boucher said.

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“Their history and achievements as a franchise clearly put them up there as one of the most successful franchises in all of world sport,” he added.

“I look forward to the challenge and respect the need for results. It’s a strong unit with great leadership and players, and I look forward to adding value to this dynamic unit.”

Reports had suggested Boucher was being lined up for the MI Cape Town coaching gig in the inaugural SA20 early next year, but Australian Simon Katich has been appointed to head that sub-franchise, with Hashim Amla as the batting coach.

Boucher replaces Mahela Jayawardena as IPL coach, with the Sri Lankan great now looking after all three sub-franchises in the IPL, SA20 and Emirates T20 for Reliance as global head of performance.