Mark Boucher retires from international cricket

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Updated: Wednesday, July 11, 2012, 9:52 [IST]
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South Africa's Mark Boucher retires

Taunton, Jul 10: South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher has announced his retirement from international cricket on Tuesday after he underwent surgery on his eye on Monday.

Boucher's career in numbers

Boucher underwent surgery and was set to return home after his left eyeball was cut during his team's two-day warm-up game against Somerset County Cricket Club in Taunton on Monday.

The injury happened when the bail ricocheted off the stumps into his eye, after Gemaal Hussain was bowled off legspinner Imran Tahir's delivery.

The 35-year-old played 147 Tests for South Africa and could have reached the 150-mark with a three-Test series coming up against England.

Boucher finished with 555 dismissals behind the stumps in Tests, a world record. He took 532 catches and effected 23 stumpings in 147 games. Also, in 295 ODIs, he had 425 dismissals. He also had 19 dismissals in 25 Twenty20 Internationals. In all he ended up with 998 international dismissals (one catch he took as a fielder).

Australia's former stumper Adam Gilchrist has 905 dismissals behind the stumps while another Australian, Ian Healy is next with 628. Kumar Sangakkara has 558 followed by MS Dhoni 496. Boucher's record might stand for a long time.

Boucher's statement on retirement was read by South Africa captain Graeme Smith on Tuesday.

The statement said: "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. 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.

Smith said: "Bouch, we have walked a long road together, and we are saddened to part under these circumstances. For the 14years 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 energiser... 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," Smith added.


Story first published:  Tuesday, July 10, 2012, 18:20 [IST]
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