Boucher announces retirement
Taunton - Veteran Proteas wicketkeeper Mark Boucher announced his retirement from international cricket on Tuesday after undergoing surgery on his left eye.GALLERY: Mark Boucher's Proteas' career timeline
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Boucher was hit in the eye by a bail after an Imran Tahir delivery struck the stumps on Monday's opening day of a tour match against Somerset in Taunton.
Captain Graeme Smith read out a statement on behalf of Boucher.
"It is with sadness and pain that I announce that I will not be able to play international cricket again," Boucher said in the 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 never anticipated announcing my retirement now but circumstances dictate differently.
"For now, I'd like to thank a huge number of people for their heartfelt support for the last 24 hours. I now head onto a road of uncertain recovery."
Boucher has been a mainstay of the South Africa side for 15 years, appearing in 147 Tests and becoming the first wicket-keeper to take 500 catches in Test cricket, where he has also scored five hundreds.
He had intended for this tour to England to be his final in international cricket, with his 150th Test scheduled for the third of the series at Lord's.
Smith paid tribute to Boucher's contribution to South African cricket and hailed his fierce competitive instincts, as well as his high-class displays behind the stumps and as a powerful batsman.
"For the 14 years of your international year you have been a Proteas warrior. You have given 100 percent for this team," Smith said.
"You are a very good friend to many of us. You leave us today with sad hearts but also with our deepest gratitude.
"We have walked a long road together, and we are saddened to part under these circumstances.
"You have been more than a performer, you have been a motivator, an inspirer, an energizer. 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."
The selectors were to make an announcement regarding a replacement for him on Wednesday.
Limited overs skipper AB de Villiers, already on tour, could replace Boucher behind the stumps, but Thami Tsolekile, a CSA contracted player, is expected to be called up.
Boucher made his debut for the Proteas as a 20-year-old against Pakistan in Sheikhpura in October 1997.
Since then, he has notched up a number of world records, including most dismissals by a wicketkeeper in Tests with 555.
He also stands on 999 international dismissals in all formats of the game.
He scored his first Test century, one of only five in his career, in his 16th Test against the West Indies in Centurion, in January 1999.
In his 38th Test, in March 2001, he became South Africa's most successful wicketkeeper with his 153rd dismissal against the West Indies in Port of Spain.
Boucher also captained the national side for a brief period in the 2002/03 season, filling in for regular captain Shaun Pollock who was injured.
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