Boucher ends South Africa career

Mark Boucher

Mark Boucher

South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher has retired from international cricket after sustaining an eye injury during the tour of England.

The 35-year-old was struck by a bail while standing up to the stumps on day one of the tour match with Somerset.

In a statement, delivered by Proteas captain Graeme Smith, Boucher said he faced “a road of uncertain recovery.”

Boucher played 147 Tests and currently holds the world record for most dismissals by a wicketkeeper.

“It is with sadness, and in some pain, that I make this announcement,” said Boucher in his statement. “Due to the severity of my eye injury, I will not be able to play International cricket again.

“I had prepared for this UK tour as well, if not better than I have prepared for any tour in my career. I had never anticipated announcing my retirement now, but circumstances have dictated differently.

“I would like to thank the huge number of people, many of whom are strangers, for their heartfelt support during the past 24 hours. I am deeply touched by all the well wishes. I wish the team well in the UK, as I head home and onto a road of uncertain recovery.”

Boucher, who was on his fourth tour of England, suffered the freak injury on Monday when he was struck by a flying bail while standing up to leg-spinner Imran Tahir on the opening day against Somerset.

He was initially treated on the pitch before being taken to Taunton hospital where he underwent surgery on a lacerated eyeball.

Boucher has since been discharged from hospital and will travel home on the earliest available flight. His eye is still too swollen for a long-term prediction to be made about possible effects on his sight.

After visiting Boucher in hospital, South Africa’s team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee told Cricinfo: “The extent of the eye injury can be described as severe. The eyeball was repaired during the operation.

“The long-term prognosis at this stage remains unknown.”

The injury is similar to one suffered by England and Middlesex wicketkeeper Paul Downton, who was forced to retire in 1990 after being struck in the eye by a dislodged bail.

Cricket South Africa have announced that a replacement for Boucher for the tour of England will be made on Wednesday.