At 35 years old and a stalwart of South African cricket Mark Boucher has retired from international cricket. The wicketkeeper sustained an eye injury when struck by ball while standing up to the stumps. The match was against Somerset with South Africa warming up before they faced England.
A statement was today released by Boucher and read out by South African captain Graeme Smith. “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 was an ever present figure for South Africa and played in 147 tests and to prove how good a wicket player he was, he held the world record for most wickets taken by a wicketkeeper which is 555.
He won South African player of the year three times and have scored over 5515 test runs.
Proteas Captain Graeme Smith said of his team mate: “Bouch, we have walked a long road together, and we are saddened to part under these circumstances. 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.
“You have been a 100 percent for this team. You have been more than a performer, you have been a motivator, an inspirer, an energizer… and a good friend to many. You leave us today with sad hearts, but also with a deep gratitude for your contributions to our team, and to us as people.
“The fighting spirit you brought to team remains with us. We wish you a good as possible recovery from your injury. As we bid you a farewell as an international cricketer and wish you well for your future, we keep you as a friend and respected Proteas warrior.”
Team-mate Jacques Kallis added: “All we can do is to be there and support him. He seems to be in good spirits and we know he will be in good hands. He has our well wishes as he has done from all around the world.”
The injury Boucher sustained saw him firstly treated on the field but he was then taken to Taunton to undergo surgery for a lacerated eye ball. Boucher’s recovery from injury remains uncertain hence the retirement today.
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.”
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