Veteran South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher announced his retirement from international cricket on Tuesday after undergoing eye surgery following a severe injury this week.
Boucher sustained a serious eye injury when a googly from Imran Tahir cleaned up Somerset batsman Gemaal Hussain but the dislodged bail hit the glovesman on the eye.
“It is with sadness, and in some pain, that I make this announcement. Due to the severity of my eye injury, I will not be able to play international cricket again,” Boucher said in a statement read out by team captain Graeme Smith.
“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 have a number of thank you’s to make to people who have made significant contributions during my International career, which I will do in due course.
“For now 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.”
Smith also gave a personal message to his team mate and friend he has been playing with for the past 14 years.
“Bouch, we have walked a long road together, and we are saddened to part under these circumstances,” Smith said.
“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 percenter 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.”