Somerset v South Africans, Taunton, 1st day July 9, 2012

Boucher undergoing surgery after eye injury

Mark Boucher's participation for the Test series against England is in doubt after he suffered a "significant injury," to his left eye during the tour match against Somerset. Boucher had to leave the field at the end of the 46th over when a googly from Imran Tahir hit the stumps and a dislodged bail struck Boucher in the left eye. Photographs showed Boucher bleeding from the eye as he left the field.

He will undergo surgery on Monday night to determine the seriousness of the injury - which was diagnosed as laceration of the sclera, the white part of the eye - but it looms as a potential career-ender as Boucher said the tour of England would be his last.

"I don't think he will be ready for the first Test and I don't know about the series," Moosajee said. "I would rather like to see the outcome of the surgery first before saying anything further. At the moment, the concern is more Mark Boucher the patient, rather than whether he is going to partake in this tour."

Moosajee said Boucher was in his usual "fighting spirits," but in a lot of pain. "When he got hit it caused dizziness out there and he had to helped off. They have also given him something to control the pain before he has the surgery."

However, South Africa appeared resigned to being without Boucher, who had been set to reach 150 Tests at Lord's, after bowling coach Allan Donald said they were "gutted," by the news. "I've never seen Mark Boucher as fit, as motivated or as determined for one series," Donald said. "This is his last series and he wants to go out on a high with the 150th Test. The way he led in Switzerland was magnificent. His leadership and what he has in team meetings is something else. I'm sure Mark would want us to refocus but this is a massive loss for us."

Donald named AB de Villiers as "a more than accomplished keeper," who could do a stand-in job, as he did in this match, but it is expected that South Africa will call up a replacement wicket-keeper if needed. Thami Tsolekile, who was nationally contracted from April 1, is the likeliest candidate.

Tsolekile recently played for the South Africa A side in the two unofficial Tests against Sri Lanka A and has also been named in the squad to travel to Ireland to shadow the senior side from the third Test.

Tsolekile last played for South Africa in 2004 when he represented the country in three Tests including one against England at Port Elizabeth. Since then, he has changed franchises, from the Cape Town based Cobras to the Johannesburg team, Lions, where he has spent the last three seasons. Tsolekile was earmarked as the successor to Boucher, who indicated he would retire after the England series, when he was awarded a central contract and was chosen to play for the A side.

He equalled the South African record for the most catches in a first-class innings when he claimed eight in the first innings of the match against Sri Lanka A, which ended in a draw on Monday.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments