South Africa Cricketer Mark Boucher Retires After Eye Injury

Mark Boucher of South Africa
Mark Boucher of South Africa bats. Photographer: Phil Walter/Getty Images

South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher announced his retirement from international cricket, one day after his left eye was damaged in a game.

Boucher, 35, underwent surgery last night after a dislodged bail cut the white area of his eye during the opening day of South Africa’s match against Somerset in Taunton. He leaves the game with 999 international dismissals across the sport’s three formats.

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

Boucher said in March he might retire from the international game after touring England. He’ll now return home after three hours of surgery on his eye. The Proteas begin a three-match Test series against top-ranked England on July 19 at the Oval in London.

“I had prepared for this U.K. tour as well, if not better than I have prepared for any tour in my career,” he said. “I had never anticipated announcing my retirement now, but circumstances have dictated differently. I wish the team well in the U.K. as I head onto a road of uncertain recovery.”

Boucher had a record 555 dismissals from 147 Tests during an international career that began against Pakistan in 1997. He also had 424 one-day dismissals, second to the 472 recorded by Australia’s Adam Gilchrist.

“For the 14 years of your international career, you have been a true Proteas warrior, a patriotic South African, a fighter who asks nothing and gives everything,” captain Graeme Smith said in a statement. “The fighting spirit you brought to the team remains with us.”

Team selectors said they’ll name Boucher’s replacement tomorrow.

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