Boucher announces retirement

2012-07-10 14:18

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

Read more on eye injuries

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.

What is your favourite Mark Boucher memory?


  • lionel.kemm.9 - 2012-07-10 14:21

    All the best Boucher,great servant fro SA cricket...speedy recovery

      blignault.michaele - 2012-07-10 14:39

      All the best Mark, the only comment I can make is that eveything in life happens for a reason, albiet, at this point in time it may not be clear. Wishing you well for your future, but I hope you are not lost to cricket. A man of your talent can help and guide many an up and coming cricketer to great heights. You will be missed, in all forms of the game.

      bryan.s.mcconnell - 2012-07-10 14:46

      A true legend Bouch... wishing you a speedy recovery!!

      jason.children - 2012-07-10 14:51

      Speedy recovery dude! what a shame!

      peter.ndamase - 2012-07-10 14:55

      It is indeed not a nice way to retire, but he served the country with pride. Speedy recovery.

      Ettiene - 2012-07-10 15:10

      Just a pity its a bit late. Cheers to the future

      maaifoedie.madmax - 2012-07-10 15:14

      My goodness what an emotional palaver; the guy retired he is not dead.

      Marcel - 2012-07-10 15:16

      should have worn his sunnies

      Andrew - 2012-07-10 15:51

      Boucher you legend!! Heal well!

      barry.mcbride - 2012-07-10 16:10

      @blignault.michaele: I agree with you 100% and wondering if you intended the pun in "at this point in time it may not be clear"?

      poloyatonkim - 2012-07-10 16:16

      Hopefully this will open a door for transformation...

      Patrick - 2012-07-10 16:26

      polowhatever: only when you tranform into a human being. get a life you prick!

      Deon - 2012-07-10 17:11

      Great player I will always remember him hitting the last ball for four to win the 438 one day game.....thanks Mark.

      christopher.columbus.3950178 - 2012-07-11 03:09

      Graham Smith announced his retirement! There was not too much emotion there.Bt why should there have been...He is not Boucher... I think Boucher should have waited to get out of his predicament and spoke for himself...

      christopher.columbus.3950178 - 2012-07-11 03:11

      @Polo...of course...the flood gates are open for transformation. Grab it by the balls man...Do you have balls? oh..well in your next life..

      emphatic.darksorrow - 2012-07-11 17:41

      Who the heck is thumbs downing here? o.O

  • Black.Wolf.SA - 2012-07-10 14:23

    This is tragic. Mark will always be one of our greatest cricket players who has always shown the true determination and guts that we hold dear to our hearts. He has made us proud to be South Africians every time he took the field!!

      napolita.kio - 2012-07-10 15:53

      "This is tragic"....Whoa!!! Mark has "RETIRED" not "DIED"

      ben.louw.5 - 2012-07-10 15:55

      @napolita Not about his retirement. The way it happened you tit

      christelle.james.7 - 2012-07-10 15:57

      Napolita - nitwit - if you had any interest in the game, and not just commenting for the sake of commenting, you would understand why the people feel the way they do. @Siyanda - you are right - he left us with awesome memories - he is the most successful wickey of all time - and for any Gilchrist fans - sorry, but the records speak for itself:-)

      Rob - 2012-07-10 16:00

      You were great for SA cricket Mark & your absence will be felt. Big gloves to fill. Whenever you feel a bit down & no doubt you will in the days & months to come, spare a thought for Tich Smith & Ray Jennings who were denied the opportunities that came your way & of which you certainly made the most of through sheer hard work & determination. You have much to be proud of as a legend of the great game.

      betsy.dorris - 2012-07-10 19:28

      @Ben - nice one. bwahaha.

      christopher.columbus.3950178 - 2012-07-11 03:15

      @Napolita...You have commented on the wrong article...the Bafana Bafana article was the one just after...

  • sean.lambie.3 - 2012-07-10 14:31

    Good luck for the future and thanks for being a true ambassador to the game of cricket and South Africa

  • - 2012-07-10 14:32

    Farewell to a true lagend of the game. your experience behind the stumps will be missed. why did it have to end like this only God knows. you go and retire with your heard held up high my true warrior,

  • phillip.vandermerwe.9 - 2012-07-10 14:33

    Very sad news!!! One of our great legends and will definitely miss you man!

  • silas.mooi - 2012-07-10 14:35

    About bloody time, heeew!!!!

      stille.waters.5 - 2012-07-10 14:37

      go back to drifting your cortina , you are better off....

      stephen.axtell.7 - 2012-07-10 14:38


      bryan.s.mcconnell - 2012-07-10 14:45

      @silas.mooi...., always takes a real A$$hole to throw in such a calous and un-warranted comment!! People like you make me sick..!!

      deon.louw.7505 - 2012-07-10 14:56

      We now rename you Silas Lelik.

      dean.obree - 2012-07-10 15:01

      @ silas.mooi, you Idiotic, Gonadless, Nobrain, Obtuse, Retard, Anal retentave,Narcassistic,Traumatised - False Uneducated Critical Kid. You are so weak and spineless, you use a nom de plume to hide behind. Please have a look at all the capital letters and see what most of the people here think of you. I don't even know if you can spell. I can not believe that out of 5 000 000 sperm, you were the fastest.

      lean.sadie - 2012-07-10 15:03

      His new name is still too nice Deon. Don't matter though, he obviously knows nothing about cricket.

      Henk - 2012-07-10 15:06

      you are a bunch of humourless idiots!

      mandy.komlosy - 2012-07-10 15:22

      something should hit you in the eye - much sharper and heavier though !!! - perhaps piercing the brain - oh no - that's impossible - you don't have one!

      ben.louw.5 - 2012-07-10 15:23

      weak dude

      provence.poppies - 2012-07-10 16:02

      @Silas...................are u sure you don't have a tail?

      claude.gerrard.9 - 2012-07-10 16:44

      Silas why not take a piece out your name and be silent (YOU CHOP). Bouchie my boy you were a great servant to SA cricket and no doubt will live in a lot of peoples memories for many a year to come. All the best for the future mate and God Bless

      sean.lambie.3 - 2012-07-10 17:10

      @silas.mooi - What a D@@S !!

      anita.bosman.754 - 2012-07-11 09:22

      You are one sick person, I feel very soory for you, you bitter twisted person shame

      silas.mooi - 2012-07-11 13:55

      Wow...Thanks for all your complements! Boucher is "freaking" old. SA can do with a fresh pair of gloves behind the stumps. He has always been an anticlimax with a bat - TRUTH BE TOLD. He never reached his batting potential. *Full Stop*

      david.phillips.583234 - 2012-07-11 15:28

      Much inbreeding in your family???

      silas.mooi - 2012-07-11 15:49

      @David Phillips - You're probably the type of guy that will lie through your teeth at a funeral to make the bereaved feel better. Answer this: If you had to choose between Mark and Gilchrist or Healy or Dravid or Steward or Dhoni or Haddin who would it be? Thought so! Never the best in the world was he?

  • mark.scott.94402 - 2012-07-10 14:36

    Thanks for everything Bouch, you a legend. A full and speedy recovery to you

      tom.tardis - 2012-07-11 08:17

      Let the deserving keeper kept out inthe cold, hampered by white supremacists now take his rightful throne as the prince of bel air, I mean wicket keeper

      bob.mcmillen.564 - 2012-07-11 15:20

      Add re and discard the is, what have you got ? RETARD

  • thadelphukem.completely - 2012-07-10 14:36

    Mark you have been a true patriot and inspiration over the years to me, my family and friends and South Africa as a whole. I'm deeply sorry to see you leave the game you devoted your life to in such an unexpected manner. Stay strong, remain positive and know that we wish you well no matter where the road ahead may lead you... You ARE a legend in SA cricket, thanks for everything...

  • lean.sadie - 2012-07-10 14:36

    All the best Boucher. True Legend.

  • stephen.axtell.7 - 2012-07-10 14:40

    All the best Boucher in your recovery

  • jan.human - 2012-07-10 14:40

    You made us proud! Well done!

  • markwmilligan - 2012-07-10 14:45

    All the best Bouch. Speedy recovery.

  • deswin.abrahams - 2012-07-10 14:46

    a great keeper.. AB is good but u in a league of ur own bhind the stumps

  • Alan - 2012-07-10 14:51

    All the best Mark. Let's hope you are not lost to SA cricket entirely. I know you can still contribute immensely to the game. Keep your eye in.

      steve.goedhals - 2012-07-10 21:58

      we will have to pardon that pun

  • charlesarnestad - 2012-07-10 14:54

    That's really unforunate that he end on 999 international dismissals. Almost like Sir Donald Bradman ending his test career with an average of 99.6 (?) runs. Almost seems like unfinished business. Cheers from Dubai.

  • frans.visserdsb - 2012-07-10 14:54

    unfortunately life does not have a fairy tale ending... Lords would have been his 150th test, and he ends with 999 dismissals in international cricket... What an absolute legend of the game...

      brendonml - 2012-07-10 18:29

      he has 1 wicket from bowling so in my books he has a 1000 :)

  • ryno.myburg.1 - 2012-07-10 14:55

    Ai Ai, ons gaan sy goeie hande mis, Well done Bouch on a fantastic carreer, I am sure you will still be able to contribute hugely to cricket in SA. Get well soon!

  • phumi.ntlabati - 2012-07-10 14:55

    As much as we are saddned by his long over due departure. But we are also equally ecstatic and celebrating that this will also provide an opportunity to make way for Thami " Mara" Tsolekile who has been living on his shadow and sitting on cold pine banches. This is a victory for all those who support the transformation measures in sport. We wish him all the best in his retirement and hope he will not pull a Victor Mattfield stunt up on us. Retirement means retirement.

      ben.louw.5 - 2012-07-10 15:32

      Seriously? Victory? You're sad dude

      enrico.capazorio - 2012-07-10 15:46

      Phumi you obviously know nothing about cricket. AB will keep. Thami will be sitting on the"cold pine branches" a little while longer. Troll

      ben.louw.5 - 2012-07-10 15:58

      Thami will keep 2nd and 3rd test. AB first test. If Thami doesn't perform with the bat he's going to be out before he knows it. There a few keepers waiting.... You have to able to bat.

      provence.poppies - 2012-07-10 15:59

      @Phumi go transform back into a chimp.

      shirley.steenkamp - 2012-07-10 16:17

      People like you shouldnt even watch sport-you give it a bad name!!!

      davenewza - 2012-07-10 16:53

      Phumi, I support transformation to a degree, but I don't think Tsolekile can make the cut just yet. His batting is unfortunately still weak. He will improve in the coming years though. I hope to see him behind the stumps, but only when he deserves to be there.

      heinrich.vanjaarsveld.52 - 2012-07-10 20:34

      Phumi go transform your soccer maybe then can you speak more white in soccer if your black and good like Vernor JP Tsostobe by all means stay in don't play the race card cause ul lose measure you fully black soccer against other teams u mean nothing black and good enough I don't have a problem but getting selected to a race qouto means pathetic and disgrace full

      mengelbrecht1 - 2012-07-11 14:41

      Yep Thami will get is chance AGAIN. Could not make the grade last time and not sure he is good enough to do it now

      bob.mcmillen.564 - 2012-07-11 15:27

      Transformation, thats what you call it when you choose an inferior person for a position over a qualified person, yet to meet someone who actually agrees or can explain the logic in doing that, and what an undignified individual one must be to actually accept that position, knowing they are not the best person available.

      clive.kihn - 2012-07-11 15:29

      Phumi, if transformation is simply a case of replacing a white person with a black/brown person regardless of ability, then you have your "victory". I am sure Thami will do his best, but he sat in Mark's shadow - as did some white 'keepers - for several years, simply because Mark was the best. Thami is intellegent enought to know that he has huge boots to fill, and all genuine cricket lovers wish him well.

  • charlesarnestad - 2012-07-10 14:55

    That's so unfortunate that he ends on 999 international dismissals. Almost like Sir Donald Bradman ending his test career with an average of 99.6 (?) runs. Seems like unfinished business. Cheers from Dubai, with wishes for a speedy recovery.

  • - 2012-07-10 14:56

    What a sad and unfortunate end to a brilliant and very profound career!!!!! You will be sorely missed..... You are a true legend of the game, as the record books will show! Your dedication and energy on and off the field will be hard pressed to replace!!! Here's to a speedy and full recovery and may this not be the last time we here your name in connection with the sport you gave a long life to!!!! Bring on the commentating!!!!

  • graememole - 2012-07-10 14:56

    so sorry mark - we would have loved to see you reach 150! hope you recover fast

  • ryno.myburg.1 - 2012-07-10 14:57

    How can anybody, ANY IDIOT give the thumbs down to any of these comments? I am dumbstruck, get a life man

      ryan.macdougall - 2012-07-10 15:02

      its called trolling. Its where imature idots get kicks.

  • hugh.olphart - 2012-07-10 14:58

    I recall seeing you walk out against Australia, unblooded, young and arrogant. You smacked the Aussies all over the park and won my respect and admiration. You have been the anchor for the team when the front men fell, which was far too often, made history with bat and glove. A fitting replacement for Dave Richardson, and now you will be sorely missed. A true Springbok.

  • jeremy002 - 2012-07-10 14:58

    Mark, you are the best. Get well soon mate

  • solomontja - 2012-07-10 15:04

    All the best Mark, wish you a speedy recovery..

  • jaysonpaul.beckwith - 2012-07-10 15:04

    A true hero and a fine gentelman of the game. All the best Boucher, you always carried SA's name high.

  • sbu.mahwai - 2012-07-10 15:06

    A True Legend - I hope you recover to play only that one last match in front of your fans so that we can say our goodbyes & farewell

  • Sabiha - 2012-07-10 15:12

    sad news indeed - you will always be remembered as the world best wicketkeeper and a hero for the Proteas long service - get well soon - will miss watching the sharp player!!!

  • michael.digby.9 - 2012-07-10 15:13

    All the best MB. Pity you are not gooing to make 150 tests and 1000 international dismissals. Speedy recovery sir!!!

  • leigh.ruis - 2012-07-10 15:17

    All the best Mark. I wish you a speedy recovery. You will be missed by all cricket loving South Africans.

  • nickwill.reen - 2012-07-10 15:19

    Dit is nou hartseer! Wens Bouch sterkte toe met sy oog besering en mag hy fully recover

  • ben.louw.5 - 2012-07-10 15:21

    Awesome 15 years Bouchy!! Thanks so much! Record for Most Test catches(532) and most Test dismissals(555) in a career

  • Larysa - 2012-07-10 15:26

    Speedy recovery Mark :) Thanks for all that you have done for SA will be missed...

  • ockert.j.dupreez - 2012-07-10 15:29

    This is a sad way to go.

  • zimbobwe.mugabe - 2012-07-10 15:30

    This is very unfortunate but i think mark should have retired a few years ago to give younger guys to be groomed. van wyk, vilas, tsolekile and de villiers must be investigated and say how much they paid tahir. If Tsolekile was given a chance time and again like AB he would've reached his potential but we all know how things operate in mzansi. I tell you if Vernon Philander have one bad series he will be out of the squad while Morne Morkel will be given chance after chance.

      tracey.wheal.77 - 2012-07-10 15:38

      Why to idiots like you always play the race card???? Huge chip on your shoulder and you need to get over yourself .............

      ben.louw.5 - 2012-07-10 15:43

      The only reason Tsolekile is in the team is because AB doesn't want to bat and keep. This is sport. The best makes team. Tsolekile is not a better Keeper/Batsman than Boucher or AB... nuff said.

      zimbobwe.mugabe - 2012-07-10 15:47

      Tracey I will get over myself when I see things run on an even level. The incostistency in handling the talent we have is giving us ideas and sometimes those ideas are justified by what we see happening. I am not an idiot and nor playing any race card!!!

      enrico.capazorio - 2012-07-10 15:48

      You're an idiot, who knows nothing about cricket.

      zimbobwe.mugabe - 2012-07-10 15:56

      Enrico you don't have to be enraged. I know a lot about cricket and have been watching it since the days of cronje, rhodes, richardson and the others. My favourite cricketer was Merv Hughes of Australia. I liked it the way he gave it to the opposition. So don't be an idiot son...

      zimbobwe.mugabe - 2012-07-10 16:11

      Ben I agree with you at the moment AB and Mark are better than Thami but what I'm saying is when Thami was still coming up his talent was handled differently to that of AB. For me Thami was as talented as any other wicket keeper but he made some few errors in the Australian tour and was thrown to the bin. His batting was his downfall and he wasn't allowed to grow.

      gerald.parker.9847 - 2012-07-10 16:17

      Tracey Zombie Mugape and co do NOT have a chip on their sholders they have the whole forest. He forgets that Philander has been in the squad before.

      ben.louw.5 - 2012-07-10 16:33

      I hear you, but looking at local and Int stats I don't see Thami doing with the willow what AB's doing... very few can.

      R144nvZyl - 2012-07-10 16:37

      Sir, Tsolekile had a chance, a short one. But he had one which he terribly failed with. He is 31 Years old now, much more mature. He has proven himself and needs another chance yes, but he doesn't have many years left. He ,unfortunately for him, played under Bouch for quite some time. For good reason, Bouch is in another league.

      gerald.parker.9847 - 2012-07-10 16:41

      Hey Zim You know a lot about cricket. If you have acricket ball in each ahnd waht have you got ? A hell of a big cricket AND his fulll attention

      zimbobwe.mugabe - 2012-07-10 16:41

      Ryanbrew thanks for the info and the stats. My point is when Thami started as a wicketkeeper and AB as a batsman their talent were handled differently. I'm not comparing Thami's keeping/batting and that of AB. AB was talented but not as good as he is now and he was given the achance to grow. Currently yes you are right but I'm specifically speaking about when Thami started as a keeper at the same time AB started as a batsman. The other guys you mentioned came later and I don't know how they handled their progress. My problem here is the handling of our talent!!!

      zimbobwe.mugabe - 2012-07-10 16:50

      makesuthink you might be right about the forest because we people comes from the bush and we might have carried the whole forest with us when we left the bushes and came to land maybe it was by choice or mistake I'll never know because I wasn't even born then!!!

      zimbobwe.mugabe - 2012-07-10 17:03

      makesuthink say what??? Remember i'm not english you've just lost me there!!!

      clive.kihn - 2012-07-11 15:34

      MadBobMugabe, are you saying that Tahir deliberately bowled a ball that would cause a bail to lift off and hit Bouch in the eye, thereby ending his career? You are mad! And young players must be groomed BEFORE they are picked for the national team, not once they have been selected - applies to all sports.

      cedric.carr.16 - 2012-07-11 17:56

      ok let me show my stupidity then.....lets transform soccer...and put some young whites in the teams so that they can reach their potential....maybe just maybe we will qualify for the next world cup then due to our ability to play...and not be default cos we were the hosting nation.....and my dad is bigger than yours......its because i am white.....

  • Frank - 2012-07-10 15:45

    One of my all time favourite players. You will be remembered as one of the all time greats. To think you will never play for the Proteas again depresses me - same as when Jonty retired. On a more sane note - where was your f$&^%&&*king helmet? Imagine you were now just starting your career and this happened. Anyway, enjoy your retirement!!

      gerald.parker.9847 - 2012-07-10 16:55

      Frank Even a helmut would not have prevented the BAIL from hitting him in the eye. Even ther Ball gets through sometimes. Anyway Tahir is a spin bowler.

  • merle.pillay.3 - 2012-07-10 15:47

    How very sad.. what a loss to SA cricket. You did us proud Mark Boucher. Wish you a speedy recovery

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-07-10 15:49

    Thank you for being a loyal servant to the game!!! Thanks for all the great memories of catches and stumpings as well as exiting batting!!! You will be mssed. I wish you all the best in your future and hope it will include you emparting some of your great cricket wisdom to up and coming players.Its a sad day for cricket.

  • nolubabalo.mbambo - 2012-07-10 15:52

    Wish you a speed recovery and all the best in the future.Frm babes

  • warwick.railton.7 - 2012-07-10 15:52

    One of our greats. Respects.

  • tim.comyn1 - 2012-07-10 16:04

    Sad way to end a great career, for the inspiration given to so many aspiring cricketers and the dedication and service to the game we must thank you Mr Boucher.

  • silindile.mabaso.9 - 2012-07-10 16:10

    Heart-breaking :(

  • beth.cameron.94 - 2012-07-10 16:11

    To a great cricketer and genuine team player, "thank you" for your spirit, determination, grit and all that you've contributed to the wonderful game of Cricket. You have been a wonderful ambassador for our country and, as said by your Skipper, you are going to be sorely missed. Whatever the future may hold for you Bouch, may it be as rewarding as the 14-years you have spent playing this game. Good luck and very best wishes for a total recovery to you eye injury.

  • mthi4life - 2012-07-10 16:12

    Sad it had to end like this,but thank U Boucher for being a great servant of SA cricket

  • samueldihnos.meso - 2012-07-10 16:16

    A true Legend of S.A cricket. Wish you a speedy recovery.

  • elizabeth.bothma.58 - 2012-07-10 16:17

    Aaahhh Boucher, so sad to end your career in this way. Always have been one of my favourites. Thank you for so many years of entertaining cricket. God bless.

  • wettrock - 2012-07-10 16:21

    thanks for representing your country well mark, all the best with you future and have a speedy recovery

  • peter.heidegger.888 - 2012-07-10 16:24

    Mark has made us all proud to be SA cricket supporters. As an Ex-SA living in Aud I know that he has the respect of all the Australian cricket fans, and going out like this is so unfair. But knowing Mark he will continue to inspire - my son who plays wicket keeper at representative level has always looked up to him as a role model. We will miss him - He has made us proud to be Protea supporters, best wishes for a speedy and full recovery. Peter, Sydney

  • shirley.schlange - 2012-07-10 16:27

    Good luck with the recovery process Mark

  • debbie.carew.35 - 2012-07-10 16:35

    Speedy recovery and thank you for all the good memories.