In cricket, and in life, a perfect end is a rarity.

Even Don Bradman was bereft of it. Yet a not-so-perfect ending cannot deny a few sportsmen their legitimate place in the sun. South Africa’s wicket-keeper Mark Boucher is one such cricketer.

His remarkably long international career, of almost 15 years, was tragically snuffed out when he was hit in the eye by a bail in a warm-up match against Somerset on July 9 during the ongoing England tour. He was only one short of 1,000 victims — an unheard of feat in the 145 years of international cricket history.

Agonisingly short of a milestone, just like Bradman who could not score the four runs in his final innings to sign off with a perfect test average of 100.

The England series was meant to be Boucher’s last, where he was expected to walk into the sunset having crossed the monumental mark of 1,000 victims and 150 Tests. The plan was perfect, not destiny.

In cricket, keeping is, by far, considered the most thankless job. A difficult catch may get a slipfielder all the plaudits but for a keeper, standing only a couple of feet away, it’s considered a routine job. For him the bar is much higher — nothing short of spectacular gets talked about. And he is expected to pick up every wayward throw of his colleagues and yet script impossible run-outs. That’s not all — conceding a bye is viewed, even by his team mates, as almost criminal.