South Africa in England 2012 July 10, 2012

'It's not about cricket any more'

Emotions were running high in the South Africa squad after Mark Boucher was forced to announce his retirement with a severe eye injury
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It was after 11pm on Monday night when the South African squad left Musgrove Park hospital in Taunton, leaving behind a team-mate who was part of the national set-up before most of them had played domestic cricket, let alone for their country. The only one who beat Mark Boucher to an international cap, Jacques Kallis, as well as the captain Graeme Smith stayed behind.

Just two days earlier, Boucher had emerged from the dressing room at the ground in Taunton with boxing gloves on. He spent half an hour in the outfield training with Rob Walter, the squad's conditioning coach. Boucher was impressive in everything he did, he moved quickly, he struck out hard but the most noticeable thing was his expression of pure concentration and determination. He wore a look that said how much he wanted to be on this England tour.

In March, Boucher spoke to ESPNcricinfo about his decision to retire after this series. He emphasised that he wanted to leave after a successful last visit, with South Africa at the top of the Test rankings, and remembered how his toughest battles have been fought on pitches in England. Little he did know, the toughest was yet to come and it would be one he would not win.

When Imran Tahir took his first wicket on the tour, the resulting flying bail caused something far more serious than just broken stumps. Boucher went down immediately and there was no team celebration. Instead, the eleven closed in to see an unfamiliar clear fluid coming out of his eye. The medical staff spent a few minutes treating Boucher pitch-side before they were ready to take him off the field, but after a few steps, he stumbled. Dizziness had already set in.

While South Africa's bowlers tried to concentrate on their tour match, news began coming in of Boucher's condition. From the outset, it sounded as though he would need surgery but the injury was not initially described as career-ending. Comparisons were made between Boucher and the rugby player, Brad Barritt, who had a lacerated eyeball during the recent England tour of South Africa. Barritt underwent what he called "minor" surgery and returned to play less than two weeks later.

As the afternoon grew longer, concerns over Boucher's condition became graver. When Mohammed Moosajee, the team manager, came to an impromptu press conference after the day's play, he was a different person to the one people have come to know over the last decade.

Moosajee, who has also acted as team doctor, has dealt with many injuries in the past from Smith's broken hand in Australia to Hashim Amla's broken box in New Zealand. He has spoken about those wounds candidly and without much fuss.

This time, Moosajee looked grim. He spoke about Boucher's injury as "severe." Although he had to wait for a final diagnosis, he doubted Boucher would be ready for the first Test. His tone told of worse, that he was sure Boucher would not play in England this time and even that he might never play again. "We are concerned with Mark Boucher the patient and not the cricketer," he said.

Allan Donald, who spoke briefly after the first day's play, already sounded resigned to being without Boucher. He called it a "massive loss," and told how Boucher had worked hard, especially on his fitness, in the lead up to the series. His sparring session on Sunday and his distinctly leaner looks were testament to that.

In a show of solidarity, the squad went to the hospital and waited as Boucher went into surgery and came out three hours later. "The guys wanted to show support for him because if the situation was reversed, he would have been the first one there for them," Moosajee said. Kallis and Smith, Boucher's closest friends, remained behind to get as much information as they could.

Around midnight, the squad was told that Boucher would be ruled out of the series. It was a sombre meeting in which a few tears were shed. The South Africans then had to prepare for another day of cricket and all except Kallis went to the ground to resume their duties as normal. Kallis stayed in the hotel with Boucher, where the wicketkeeper made the decision he had been keeping at bay for almost two years.

Another press conference was called, this time on the field with Smith, Kallis, Gary Kirsten and Moosajee. Smith pulled a folded piece of paper out of his pocket and read Boucher's statement. Kallis stood next to him, expressionless. Smith's words were few but strong.

"We all know what he's meant to us as a person and his stats speak for themselves," Smith said. "If you add that to the type of person he is, he will go down as one of the greats of the game. But now we are more worried about Mark the person and getting him through this situation."

The message from the management centred on the health of Boucher, who has yet to learn if he will have sight in his left eye again. For Kallis, it was a rude reminder of the world outside of sport. "It's not about cricket any more," he said. "It's about a mate and hoping he recovers fully. It puts cricket and life into perspective. It's been a very tough 24 hours not only for myself but for his family and team-mates. All we can do is be there and support. He's in good hands and he has all of our well wishes as well as from people around the world."

Boucher will return home on Tuesday night, escorted by Moosajee but his departure will have wider effects on the South African squad, most of whom have never played a series without Boucher. "Guys are fluctuating at the moment," Moosajee said. "It's all going to hit home and there is a very human element to it. They're professional sportsmen though. Although most of them would rather not have played today, they know Boucher would love nothing more than for us to play well in England as a whole."

The immediate impact of Boucher's retirement will be to the balance of the team. AB de Villiers has been named as the replacement wicketkeeper in the squad and both Kirsten and Donald have said he play in that role in the first Test. The national selectors though, have declined to confirm anything, except that they will announce a replacement on Wednesday. What they will not be able to replace is the Boucher way, which Smith hopes to continue growing in the squad.

"I don't think you can replace Mark Boucher. That's not what we're trying to do," Smith said. "We're trying to respect what he's given us and hopefully play with him in our hearts and minds through the next few years. He's created a legacy for a lot of us to be a part of and to look up to. We need to respect what he's done for our country and be proud of that. Things happened yesterday and his reality has changed. But as people we are trying to stand by him and help him through this process.

"We are people first and cricketers second, so there's naturally going to be emotion around this subject. But we're a very professional team and Mark was very adamant that our focus needs to be on playing cricket and doing well. We need to deal with the emotion initially and build to the first Test. That's our goal and that's how Mark Boucher would have played the game."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on July 13, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    all fans wil miss you... i became very much emotional to hear the news of retirement...

  • atuljain1969 on July 13, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    India lost Raman Lamba and Syed Saba Karim (could not keep again), to fielding mishaps. May God spare the sportsperson from this agony.

  • on July 13, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    i always was and will be one of the fan of the southafrican team... the story like this to a person who gave his all effort to place his team always in top is unbelievable.... He was always a key member for the success of southafrican team.. He is a perfect role model ..... God bless you boucher.. you have a millions of wishes from around the globe... You can definetly pass by through this bad time.....

  • on July 12, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    such a sad end to one of most magnificent career , he was to set so may recors in this ,his last series but it wasnt to be but that doesnt matter now just hope that Mark makes a full recovery .Hope after he recovers comes back to cricket in some other form may be as a commentater .GWS MARK and THANK TO BE SUCH A LEGEND OF THE GAME FROM AN INDIAN

  • satish619chandar on July 12, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    So unfortunate.. I wish he gets a memorial T20 to finish off his career.. A glorious one.. Lovely guy to have in any team..

  • Captain_Crick on July 12, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    Get well soon Mark! Fans across the world will miss you.

  • bigben_bigben on July 12, 2012, 9:15 GMT

    Mark Boucher has always been a class-act. Fantastic cricketer, both batting and keeping. Will be judged among the all time great wicketkeepers. May he recover fully from his injury.

  • on July 12, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    A true fighter,a person down to the earth. Whether you score runs or not,you will always be my favourite wicket-keeper. A salute to such a luminous career. Get Well Soon.

  • on July 12, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    A person who kept himself low profiled. Decency and character would be a synonym for a person like Mark Boucher

  • donbanda on July 12, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    Spare a thought for Imran Tahir too.

  • on July 13, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    all fans wil miss you... i became very much emotional to hear the news of retirement...

  • atuljain1969 on July 13, 2012, 12:58 GMT

    India lost Raman Lamba and Syed Saba Karim (could not keep again), to fielding mishaps. May God spare the sportsperson from this agony.

  • on July 13, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    i always was and will be one of the fan of the southafrican team... the story like this to a person who gave his all effort to place his team always in top is unbelievable.... He was always a key member for the success of southafrican team.. He is a perfect role model ..... God bless you boucher.. you have a millions of wishes from around the globe... You can definetly pass by through this bad time.....

  • on July 12, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    such a sad end to one of most magnificent career , he was to set so may recors in this ,his last series but it wasnt to be but that doesnt matter now just hope that Mark makes a full recovery .Hope after he recovers comes back to cricket in some other form may be as a commentater .GWS MARK and THANK TO BE SUCH A LEGEND OF THE GAME FROM AN INDIAN

  • satish619chandar on July 12, 2012, 11:26 GMT

    So unfortunate.. I wish he gets a memorial T20 to finish off his career.. A glorious one.. Lovely guy to have in any team..

  • Captain_Crick on July 12, 2012, 10:47 GMT

    Get well soon Mark! Fans across the world will miss you.

  • bigben_bigben on July 12, 2012, 9:15 GMT

    Mark Boucher has always been a class-act. Fantastic cricketer, both batting and keeping. Will be judged among the all time great wicketkeepers. May he recover fully from his injury.

  • on July 12, 2012, 8:47 GMT

    A true fighter,a person down to the earth. Whether you score runs or not,you will always be my favourite wicket-keeper. A salute to such a luminous career. Get Well Soon.

  • on July 12, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    A person who kept himself low profiled. Decency and character would be a synonym for a person like Mark Boucher

  • donbanda on July 12, 2012, 3:31 GMT

    Spare a thought for Imran Tahir too.

  • on July 12, 2012, 2:09 GMT

    Massive respect for the man and the cricketer, hope he recovers fully and that South Africa play well and win the series for themselves and for him.

  • on July 12, 2012, 1:09 GMT

    Boucher, a perfect role model. All the best for his future. The crickcet world will miss you.

  • goatman63 on July 12, 2012, 0:20 GMT

    A deadset legend of the game. i am concerned, firstly, with mark's unfortunate injury. May he recover rapidly. I'm sure his many followers from around the world wish him the very best, both at this point and for his future. A dedicated and very talented cricketer who rose to the top of his field as a keeper, his presence on the field will be sadly missed. An untimely and sad farewell to one of the greats of the game.

  • SixFourOut on July 12, 2012, 0:17 GMT

    Kudos to Mark on a great career and some memorable innings.

  • Brandone on July 11, 2012, 22:52 GMT

    Mark you have always been a "Mark" for South Africa and will remain so forever

  • crying_game on July 11, 2012, 22:35 GMT

    May Mark recover well. Such an unfortunate accident. An excellent, unassuming player who has served SA cricket enormously. Hopes and prayers for him to have a healthy, lovely, enjoyable and peaceful retirement.

  • Livinitupnowww on July 11, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    This is truly a sad occassion. Mark defines what any upcoming player needs to adhere to in this game of cricket. He is a fine cricketeer, a respectful player, & most of all a wonderful human being. Get well soon buddy!

  • sliceanddice on July 11, 2012, 21:31 GMT

    Mark's a fighter and he'll get through this for sure. Hopes and prayers are with you from cricket fans around the world, Mark. Will miss you on the field. Get well sooner.

  • KarachiKid on July 11, 2012, 20:26 GMT

    A down to earth champ. Great servant of SA cricket. Extremely sad that SA team will be stepping out without him. Wish are pray for his complete recovery.

  • on July 11, 2012, 20:00 GMT

    well written.....nuff said

  • on July 11, 2012, 18:21 GMT

    Great servant of game. Wish u best of luck Boucher.

  • K.D.Eranda on July 11, 2012, 17:32 GMT

    get well soon Mark, sad to hear but we all wish you to recover in a flash....

  • kentjones on July 11, 2012, 17:22 GMT

    I have a lot of respect for Mark Boucher. He gave of his best for SA and will be remembered for true grit, one of the main ingredients of Test cricket. All the best to you, a sad way to end your career, but the memories on the field that you left behind will always be remembered.

  • on July 11, 2012, 17:10 GMT

    wish him a speedy recovery no matter wat I read.....Always respected him as a player..a selfless one..God Bless!

  • ectasy on July 11, 2012, 16:39 GMT

    Very very sad to hear :( Mark Boucher one hand catch behind t stumps amazed t world of cricket . Best Wishes to recover soon .... Have great years ahead Boucher ...

  • on July 11, 2012, 16:38 GMT

    My prayers are with you Mark, I have enjoyed watcghing you over the years and that is why I named my son Mark. My God place his healing hands on you

  • krnataraj on July 11, 2012, 15:49 GMT

    come on proteas!! win the series for boucher and prove that the pommies are not the best team in the world!!

  • on July 11, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    One of the greats of the modern game. For almost 12-13 years, it was impossible to imagine a South African team without Boucher. Never one to make the headlines or hog the limelight, always silent, always delivering! Just hope he recovers as soon as possible without any damage to his sight!

  • cricketkumar on July 11, 2012, 15:16 GMT

    may he get well soon...i pray that he doesn't lose his left eye sight

  • on July 11, 2012, 15:07 GMT

    this is a real sad news. wish u a speedy recovery...... Mark boucher. he is the most experienced wicket keeper in current int. cricket. this is a real tragic.... i have seen him playing more than 10 years.....and love to see him again in the field.......from sri lanka

  • on July 11, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    very passionate man behind the wicket ..!!! will be badly missed !!!!!

  • nafees1962 on July 11, 2012, 15:00 GMT

    999 career international dismissals! Add to that 10,500 career international runs! That doesn't come easy! It only comes from someone as disciplined as Mark Boucher! Loved watching him play... and watching the passion and concentration he brought into his work... and loved following his records! He already had declared this would be his last tour. But what a sad way to go! RSA would surely find someone to step into his shoes... take his position behind the stumps! But you can't replace the person... the braveheart that Mark has been for so many years! This is not only a loss for RSA... but for Cricket itself. The game would be much poorer without him! Get well soon, Mark! Let's hope and pray the injury is only temporary! Your playing days may be over... but your legacy will remain forever... and your record will stand the test of time! Thank you... for giving us cricket fans across the world such great pleasure watching you, and following your records!

  • on July 11, 2012, 14:56 GMT

    The game is going to miss another great 'person'. Farewell Bouch and hope you'd get well soon and have a splendid life after retirement!!

  • on July 11, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    I hope and pray that Mark recovers well and quickly. Miss seeing him behind the stumps though.

  • on July 11, 2012, 14:23 GMT

    mark you are one of the best keepers ever every cricket lover will miss you badly its a sad day for cricket

  • shabji on July 11, 2012, 14:15 GMT

    so sad, itz heartbroken both for the team and fan's

  • on July 11, 2012, 14:13 GMT

    Boucher great man with 999 dismissals & 149 tests. Will miss him. Can't forget his crucial 50* in the thrilling chase of 434 against Aus.

  • on July 11, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    Remember his early years playing with Pat Symcox and the afrikaans banter between them, Symcox wud say something and Boucher wud say Ja Uncle Pat. I will always remember Mark with fondness. He was a great sportsman and a nice guy. All the best Mark, you did your country proud.

  • arun_padmanabhan on July 11, 2012, 14:09 GMT

    one of the greatest wicket-keeper bats of all time, no doubt. But, how can such an experienced guy not wear a helmet when facing a helmet? An important lesson for all of us in life- Do the small things right and never be complacent of anything.

  • YorkshirePudding on July 11, 2012, 13:52 GMT

    @incricketible, theres no reason though if I remember correctly it was against england not Australia that he scored the ton on his reason. As it is Boucher had decided to retire from international cricket after this test series so all thats happened is that hes retired 3 games earlier than he would have otherwise done.

  • on July 11, 2012, 13:20 GMT

    Bouch u had been great both as a keeper and as a batsman,gave a strong stability to the team as well,RSA will surely miss u.wishing you a speedy recovery.....

  • denessa on July 11, 2012, 13:15 GMT

    THIS IS TRULY A SAD DAY FOR CRICKET.......MARK WAS ONE OF THE BEST WICKET KEEPERS .....I PRAY THAT BOUCH CAN SEE AGAIN FROM HIS LEFT EYE....ALL THE BEST MARK THE CRICKETING WORLD WILL MISS U.........

  • on July 11, 2012, 13:13 GMT

    A tragic end to one of the all time greats. A great keeper and on his day a match-winning batsman. Just hope he can move on with his life and has no permanent damage

  • bvnathan on July 11, 2012, 12:52 GMT

    Hi Mark, WISH YOU A SPEEDY RECOVERY ... Your legacy and contributions for SA cricket will be remembered for a LONG TIME... @Rahul Kosambi - Hope better sense prevails when you comment to the contect of the news/discussion

  • on July 11, 2012, 12:51 GMT

    Oh man, this is so sad...on his last series, for this to happen. Really enjoyed watching MB play over the years. he really was a fighter

  • frozendilemma on July 11, 2012, 12:49 GMT

    grew up watching Boucher and Kallis and will surely miss him...what a sad way to go from Cricket...my best wishes for him...

  • Philip_Gnana on July 11, 2012, 12:47 GMT

    Boucher was fantastic and an acrobat at his job. His leg side takes were fantastic. He is to SA what Gillchrist was to the Aussies. Mark gave that middle order the extension that it need down the batting line up with his aggressive batting. Thankfully there are various forms of the games in place, where we will be able to see Mark again (in all probability and hope...) Fortunately for SA do have some good talent to part fill those huge gloves and boots too. It is heartbreaking for all the fans and the team to lose a team member/friend in this manner. So it is up to the team now to show him their appreciation with a good tour. Philip Gnana, Surrey

  • on July 11, 2012, 12:45 GMT

    May you get well soon Boucher.....you had been a great player throughout your career.....you deserved a much better exit.....Love, Prayers and Support from your Pakistani Fans!!!

  • SuperSharky on July 11, 2012, 12:33 GMT

    Bouch was one of the best keepers ever. He had a brilliant career and entertained us all. Hope he gets well soon.

  • on July 11, 2012, 12:31 GMT

    so sand mark. the greatest for all the time. playing 150 tests missed him.

  • incricketible on July 11, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    Why can't Boucher, given his talent, return for a last hurrah even if he loses sight in one eye. Remember that Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi scored a century in his first match against Australia after losing one of his eyes in a road accident.

  • on July 11, 2012, 12:30 GMT

    what a player. One of the all time greats. Who would have known that Dave Richardson would have had such a terrific successor. The sport will be all the less without him. Heres hoping he retains vision in his eye ;(

  • VishalPathak on July 11, 2012, 12:08 GMT

    Get well soon Mark, you have achieved a lot in your life professionally, now is the time to take a step back and relax, take care of your health which comes first and rest later. Life is how we take it and I humbly must say that cricket is a gentleman's game and you a true ambassador of the game. Never ever saw you fighting, frowning or fuming on and off the field. God Bless :)

  • harishkumartb066 on July 11, 2012, 12:03 GMT

    Big loss to world cricket :((( Hope he will get well soon and good luck for his future .

  • on July 11, 2012, 12:02 GMT

    Wish you a speedy recovery Mark.

  • on July 11, 2012, 11:58 GMT

    miss u boucher,u should hv involved to the dismissal no.1000

  • on July 11, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    Mark Boucher, name of a true Gentleman, a fine sportsman, wish u win this challange as in the Past, GET WELL SOON MARK.

  • on July 11, 2012, 11:32 GMT

    Terrible end to a great career, get well soon Mark!

  • RandyOZ on July 11, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    Probably only second to Gilchrist in terms of wicket keeper batsmen. Well done Bouch.

  • frozendilemma on July 11, 2012, 11:04 GMT

    This is such a sad news...I grew up watching Boucher,Pollock,Donald,Kirsten and Kallis and of course many others...Out of those only Boucher and Kallis are still going on and was really looking forward to this series with him in it and its so surreal that out of nowhere the legend is just taken away from us by a freak accident...It just goes to show you how fragile life is...Cricket should come secondary to life and I`ll be just happy to see him fully recover and continue his life away from Cricket...He was a sure fire legend and nobody can replace him...watching South Africa will be so different without 'Bouch' in it...Truly saddened by this tragedy...Sincere wishes to him and his family and his teammates of course....

  • msnsrinivas on July 11, 2012, 10:51 GMT

    @Rahul Kosambi...Not a very clever thing to say at this juncture, I'm afraid.

  • thalalara on July 11, 2012, 10:50 GMT

    Man of Grit & Determination, its a sad and sudden loss to the game of cricket, Boucher deserves a glorious last game ceremony on the field, SA should make arrangement for the same....

  • on July 11, 2012, 10:48 GMT

    Mark one of the great players ever. Get well soon Mark Boucher Total score 999 (Tests 555 + ODI 425 + T20 19)

  • RyanHarrisGreatCricketer on July 11, 2012, 10:44 GMT

    AB SHOULD NOT KEEP

  • ChrisCl on July 11, 2012, 10:39 GMT

    Really sad to hear about this terrible injury to one of world cricket's finest players. I am an England fan but like many of us Test Match fans, I have huge admiration and respect for one of the most professional and dignified players in the game. Mark Boucher has been a fantastic servant to South Africa both with the bat and behind the stumps. The fact that he has remained part of the Test side for so long is testament to the man's skill and professionalism together with his sheer consistency and ability to dig deep when the chips are down. My heart goes out to Mark and his family and we all hope and pray that his sight in the damaged eye recovers. It will be tough for Mark to come to terms with the end of his cricket career, which looks like it is to be ended so suddenly. Most of us in life get to choose when we retire. Mark would not have been prepared for this. All our best wishes, from an England cricket fan, to one of our greatest opponents. Get well soon Mark Boucher!

  • Cricket_fan85 on July 11, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    For all that Boucher had given to South Africa, he deserves a series win from SA.. I just cannot remember anybody other than mark boucher when I think about wicket keeping for SA.. While the series should go on as planned.. our hearts go to Mark and we wish him speedy recovey ..@rahul kosambi.. this is not the time to talk about performance mate !!!!!!!!!!!..

  • featurewriter on July 11, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    Aussies have a special place in our hearts for South Africans. Boucher is a respected cricketer in this country. I'm a huge fan of his keeping and his conduct. A great ambassador for the game. I was hoping for something special during his final series. Right now, all I hope for is a speedy and full recovery. As a cricketer, Mark Boucher has left a wonderful legacy. As a fan of cricket, I thank him for that. All the best mate.

  • on July 11, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    I m very sad for him, No doubt he was the best wicket-keeper of all time! May he Get well soon! :(

  • Rajeev334 on July 11, 2012, 10:23 GMT

    A great cricketer & a true gentleman of the game! Wish you a speedy recovery on behalf of all the Sri Lankan cricket fans Get well soon Mark....

  • on July 11, 2012, 10:01 GMT

    Iam sure, he will soon. I think, wicket keepers should wear eyeprotection glasses just as baseball keepers do. Should be made compulsory. Dhoni should be learning from this.

  • on July 11, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    A true south African hero who contributed a lot for the team. Get well soon Mark......

  • Paracha420 on July 11, 2012, 9:58 GMT

    Mark Boucher u will be remembered in the history of cricket as the greatest wicket keepers of all time...But the way the career ended for u it's very heart braking get well soon and just play your last fare well test in south africa!!! Best of luck from pakistan.....

  • sarathy_m2 on July 11, 2012, 9:56 GMT

    God bless him ...

  • on July 11, 2012, 9:54 GMT

    I say let AB keep in the series (he is still fresh), and bring Faf into the middle order. The tail can wag but the middle looks very fragile. It could determine the outcome of the series. Either that, or rain.

  • Naresh28 on July 11, 2012, 9:45 GMT

    Not very nice for someone to comment on his performance, when the guy has this sort of injury. Some fans dont look at a players total picture and only comment on the present. Anyway great to see the SA team support of Boucher.

  • on July 11, 2012, 9:38 GMT

    Extremely extremely sad news. We've grown up watching Mark Boucher keeping wickets for South Africa, and to learn about this freak injury, that too in the last series of his international career is shocking. Get well soon Mark, may god be with you

  • on July 11, 2012, 9:37 GMT

    Such a sad end to his career. Hope he fully recovers from his injuries. The world of cricket will miss him for sure

  • on July 11, 2012, 9:28 GMT

    @Rahul Kosambi.... now that is a cold, heartless statement one could make in a situation like this. Shame on you! For me it is sad to see a career ending this way and had Boucher not be performing I don't think the selectors would keep picking hm!

  • otters6 on July 11, 2012, 9:26 GMT

    @Rahul. hey dude the guy deserves some sympathy not sarcasm. Imagine something happened to Tendulkar on the field and he was 'forced' into retirement....

  • on July 11, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    wishing you a very speedy recovery and sincerely hoping to c u soon playing Cricket again

  • mjrvasu on July 11, 2012, 9:15 GMT

    With such a serious injury why did he travel back to SA, instead of going to a top class hospital in UK - unless he wanted to be near family. We are completely moved by this weird incident, and sincerely pray and wish for MB's speedy recovery and eyesight fully restored. Cricket is secondary. This is also a lesson to be learnt by all cricket clubs around the world - to have first aid and medical assistance available nearby, since this kind of emergency could happen to anyone on the sports field.

  • andysarmy on July 11, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    huge best wishes to you mark for a speedy recovery.

  • mtalhas on July 11, 2012, 9:07 GMT

    get well soon boucher..u were great in the gloves (safe, energetic, combative & trustworthy in batting and keeping)..hope to see you soon on the field again so that you can complete your milestones and make a proper exit..your fan from pakistan

  • Rahul_78 on July 11, 2012, 9:06 GMT

    Life can be so cruel and unreasonable at times. Such an irony that an international cricketer like Boucher had to endure such a freak injury. But there is more to life then cricket. Hope he makes a full recovery and we are able to see this fighter again on cricketing field playing and enjoying cricket for his club.

  • seansie78 on July 11, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    Very sad indeed to hear of Marks injury, two wicketkeepers retiring from the game and both big loses for their sides what with taibu retiring for zim. Speedy recovery mate, we're praying for you.

  • sunil186 on July 11, 2012, 8:49 GMT

    wish a speedy recovery mark...

  • nav84 on July 11, 2012, 8:40 GMT

    maybe i am too optimistic but i still hope that he fully recovers in a couple of months time and comes back to play his farewell series.

  • on July 11, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    Its a very sad incident really, Mark Get well soon dear,, World cricket will miss you..

  • on July 11, 2012, 8:23 GMT

    one of the greatest crickter that i have never seen,salute to a great wicketkeeper batsman,a great legendary cricketor from bottom of my heart.

  • on July 11, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    Best wishes and prayers for Mark's complete recovery and also for his family and friends in this difficult hour. You were certainly one of the best ambassadors of the game. A fan from Pakistan.

  • sherishahmir on July 11, 2012, 8:15 GMT

    Gold blesses boucher with speedy and full recovery of his eye sight, what a good crickter he is for his country and cricket faternity as whole, also very sad to know he took 999 and need just 1 more to surpass 1000 mark a rare milestone.

  • on July 11, 2012, 8:10 GMT

    Get well soon,Mark...

  • on July 11, 2012, 8:05 GMT

    Sad to see a career ending this way. you are a great person as an individual and as a sportsman. Wishing you a speedy recovery... and good luck for your future

  • Narkovian on July 11, 2012, 8:03 GMT

    I haven't read ALL the comments here. But what I have not seen anyone from the SA group mention Imran Tahir. Obviously not his fault, But think how he must be feeling. I hope someone has put an arm round his shoulder. A very sad end to a great career for Boucher. How annoying was he when he always made runs just as you thought SA were going to be bowled out cheaply. N

  • chathuradil on July 11, 2012, 7:57 GMT

    get well soon bro...what a word from smith. those guys are an ICON for friendship.

  • on July 11, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    Salute Mark's Period of time spent with squad

  • Atheeq.G on July 11, 2012, 7:54 GMT

    Get well soon mark hope your eye sight does not effect after this incident. will pray for you to get well soon

  • Shrekk on July 11, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    At least after this incident they should change the bails into something else..its a miracle this doesn't happen to keepers more often.

  • Rafelgibt on July 11, 2012, 7:48 GMT

    Such a bad news you can have..........This is really unfortunate to let BOUCHER leave cricket like this way.........I pray to ALLAH that he would recover very quickly.........Salute to a great cricketer, a great legend of the game from bottom of my heart......All the best wishes from the people of BANGLADESH.......

  • on July 11, 2012, 7:43 GMT

    lets look at the positive, if we can in this situation, 999 dismissal will be talked more then say 1000, 1000 & more would be for the record books, but 999 will sure make him one of the legend of the game forever,

    but yes its sad , the injury is

  • PadamHCL on July 11, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    Another victim from ckt ground.....unfortunate, but what one can do in it. He was one of the deciplined player of cricket field and always remember for pleasentful in the field as well as hard hitter while batting. You still can be part of cricket by having coach or advisor, all the best for your future and get well soon.

  • baz72notout on July 11, 2012, 7:23 GMT

    Mark Boucher's tragic accident should now highlight the need for wicketkeepers to wear some kind of eye protection. American baseball catchers wear face protection (although they do have to move less laterally than wicketkeepers). The fact that Boucher was standing up to Tahir may have made the injury unavoidable; let the authoriities take action to make sure this kind of acccident cannot happen again.

  • on July 11, 2012, 7:10 GMT

    very sad,,damage for SA..and SA Test MAtches T20..

  • on July 11, 2012, 7:00 GMT

    Get well soon Mark! Hope everything goes well in the coming days!!

  • on July 11, 2012, 6:58 GMT

    Get well soon Mark! You are a great cricketer. Also a warning for wicketkeeps. Please wear helmets atleast when standing near wicket. It will save many Bauchers

  • Samar_Singh on July 11, 2012, 6:57 GMT

    What an unfortunate end to such a remarkable carrier .. 999 International dismissal ... A true Legend.. Solute and quick recovery ...

  • on July 11, 2012, 6:55 GMT

    This is so unfortunate. I wish him a super speedy and full recovery. Gusty cricket that man Boucher. Sad to see things like this happen on the cricket field.

  • SirWilliam on July 11, 2012, 6:54 GMT

    This is almost identical to the injury that ended Paul Downton's career. He, luckily, did not lose his sight in the eye. Let us hope that Boucher is equally fortunate. Thank goodness that such incidents are so rare, albeit a constant risk for wicket-keepers. Let us also hope that "Elf n Safety" do not try to ban the use of bails!

  • javed.agrawala on July 11, 2012, 6:53 GMT

    All the best to Boucher. What a great ambassador for cricket he has been over the years! Our prayers are with him and his loved ones.

  • YorkshirePudding on July 11, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    I was looking forward to watching Mark Boucher keep during this series, and want to wish him a speedy recovery. Its a shame he cannot stay with the squad and attend tests as a part of the 'support staff'either as an analyst or keeping coach for his replacement.

  • bdsmaruf on July 11, 2012, 6:44 GMT

    i am from bangladesh. from whole nation, i am praying for mark boucher. he will come round very soon. great player and great man. we sallute you. we love you.

  • on July 11, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    May the Blessings from Good Hearts treat him well at the earliest.. He will surely recover soon and see his team mates win the England Series..

  • on July 11, 2012, 6:37 GMT

    These are some very rare incidents in cricket but still very hard to accept. Great sportsman.He is a tough guy hope he will fight this one out too.

  • Madhusha on July 11, 2012, 6:29 GMT

    Great Cricketer. May God bless him. Sure he wil recover and we will see him play.

  • TheBlackMonk on July 11, 2012, 6:28 GMT

    Emotions around everyone, he's a great lad. I always admire him since I realized the game, cricket. He gave us tons of memories, it's sad saying him goodbye from cricket like this. I sincerely pray for him.

  • on July 11, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    Its not good for cricket lovers.

  • dinesh.lizen on July 11, 2012, 6:21 GMT

    you are one of the greats Mark.....would be really happy if u could come back again....but its always ur health is important....so get well soon....the cricketers around the world r pround of you.....

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on July 11, 2012, 6:10 GMT

    A lengthy career and played with some of the greats, but Boucher's batting cannot be compared to the likes of Gilchrist or Prior, two of the best Wicketkeepers/Batsmen ever.

  • on July 11, 2012, 6:07 GMT

    Let us hope he recovers fully and may be goes on the tour to Aus , for one last go...

  • acsekhar_2005 on July 11, 2012, 5:50 GMT

    Really sad to see Mark Boucher go out the way he has. Wish him a complete recovery so that his eye sight does not affect his future life. Great competitor, wish you the very best Mark!!

  • naansari on July 11, 2012, 5:47 GMT

    Really it so nice to see South Africans cricketers and team management caring this much for Boucher...I wish him good recovery and hope he doesn't lose his eyesight...God bless him!!!!

  • addicted_to_chaos on July 11, 2012, 5:42 GMT

    Get Well Soon....... Wish u good luck........

  • SaurabhDutt on July 11, 2012, 5:40 GMT

    These human beings are not God...I just hope he'll recover soon and come back in action with more brutal skills.

  • on July 11, 2012, 5:39 GMT

    Wish him speedy recovery. He is a true Proteas and great ambassador to the game of cricket. I hope to see him playing IPL next year.

  • on July 11, 2012, 5:31 GMT

    although cricket will move on but south african cricket will never be the same without the gritty mark boucher. wish him speedy recovery and that he will fight this battle just like he has fought many a battle on the field. wishing him well. to all the keepers, and other players in general, please wear protective gears. saba karim was a lesson forgotten. now, it's MB. we don't want to loose any other fine cricketer to such freak accident. so, please wear protective gears.

  • Cpt.Meanster on July 11, 2012, 5:29 GMT

    Get well soon Bouch !! great player and a terrific servant to South African cricket. A true inspiration to any wicket keepers out there. If the South Africans needed any purpose to defeat England, they have got it. This is bad news for England because they can expect a fiery South African unit here on. This will be a tough series and a wonderful one. Ashes what ?

  • on July 11, 2012, 5:22 GMT

    I've watched and admired Mark Boucher at a distance ever since he took over from Dave Richardson and now I can hardly imagine a South African side without him battling for every run in the lower middle-order or shouting and cajoling behind the stumps. It's a shame he ended on 998 international victims (it's already been said that it's a bit like having an average of 99.94), but there are other things that matter more. Here's hoping Mark makes a good physical and psychological recovery, that the sight of his left eye is not lost and that, in some capacity or other, he is not entirely lost to cricket.

  • ian45 on July 11, 2012, 5:16 GMT

    Good Luck Mark and get well soon, Greatest wikkie ever and a fantastic human being

  • sunilhs on July 11, 2012, 5:14 GMT

    Hoping he will recover soon (I am sure he will) and will be back in the game as a coach.

  • on July 11, 2012, 5:10 GMT

    Come on fighter, you are destined to win. recover soon

  • on July 11, 2012, 5:10 GMT

    get well soon Mark, Best wikkie ever and fantastic human being God Bless

  • Aaryabhatta on July 11, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    wat a fighter boucher........god bless u a healthy recovery

  • csam on July 11, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    Speedy recovery Bouchy! Well wishes from Sri-Lanka.

  • on July 11, 2012, 5:04 GMT

    tears......... prays and my v best wishes r with u a sold brick wall of African cricket.... i grow up watching only wicket keeper as a permanent member of RSA team. i can not control my emotions, a great loss to cricket. get well soon champ.

  • on July 11, 2012, 5:02 GMT

    For the Brave Boucher & South Africa Squad and his lovers. We salute Boucher for his utmost services to cricket it was a pleasure watching him play. But this is how life is accidents change your life may God give him and his family courage to bear this period of time he is going through. We are with him and his family standing side by side as a great fan.

  • on July 11, 2012, 4:54 GMT

    Remember 434?!!! I remember Mark!! Miss you Mark :(

  • Nadeem1976 on July 11, 2012, 4:46 GMT

    this is such sad way to end a great great career. I am really sad and i wish that boucher recover from this injury soon and live a healthy life as he deserve it. He was extremely hard working and devoted player. One of the greatest of all time

  • on July 11, 2012, 4:40 GMT

    Its emotional that he wont be there on the field anymore .... WE will surely miss your service and I will miss your smile and those catches. Hail Kallis and Smith.

    Love and Peace - May God bless you and your family during this tough time ....

  • anver777 on July 11, 2012, 4:39 GMT

    What a emotional ending to a great career !!!!! SA cricket will miss him & its really hard to fill the place of Boucher in future..... wishing him a speedy recovery !!!!

  • Farce-Follower on July 11, 2012, 4:35 GMT

    Sincere wishes for a speedy recovery and a fulfilling life ahead. Mark Boucher is one of the legends of the game. A fighter to the core and a gentleman off the field. He will forever be in the hearts of many Indian fans.

  • on July 11, 2012, 4:30 GMT

    one of the real unsung heroes of the game for South Africa. Mark will be missed for sure . a class act and true sportsmen. God bless him and he gets well soon .

  • on July 11, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    i am from india...i like boucher a lot.....i am feeling very very disappointed that this has happened to him..ever since my chilhood i loved his play...i feel very much that a man who stood behind stumps when pollock,donald,ntinisteyn, morke,adamsl and many more ......were bowling will no longer be in future in international....hope divinity make you recover as quickly as possible.i still feel u r the great one in that 6th spot for Sa even now

  • on July 11, 2012, 4:29 GMT

    hope he gets well soon. one of my favorite players and a great inspiration for wicket keeper.. i started my cricketing as a wicket keeper inspired by then Mark Boucher.. he deserves a much better retirement sending off.. would love to see him back on the field with 100% recovery...

  • MelbourneMiracle on July 11, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    Bouch you're a true gentleman of cricket...You deserve a better farewell Mr.Keeper! Surely the best ever wicket keeper of the world...Our prayers with you for a speedy recovery!!

  • Aspraso on July 11, 2012, 4:28 GMT

    Boucher was a huge player for SA -- on both sides of the wiicket. That he was on the verge of retirement was on the cards but the manner of having to retire (through such a horrific injury) really burns the heart. At the moment, let us pray he recovers to have vision in both eyes. God bless him.

  • Kazi1517 on July 11, 2012, 4:24 GMT

    Get well soon, Boucher! We will miss your cricket :(

  • Sarangarajan on July 11, 2012, 4:20 GMT

    As an Indian I have seen lots of Mark Boucher's keeping and pugnacious batting on TV.Time and again he has saved the team from blushes while batting. His keeping has been solid and has effected brilliant saves and dismissals.One could see him as a live wire on the filed in the team.To me he has been the best wicket keeper after Allan Knott . Mark- wishing you a very speedy recovery.It is very sad that we may not be able to see him on cricket filed.You have given immense pleasure to cricket lovers like me ,Mark.

  • kushaman on July 11, 2012, 4:19 GMT

    Mark u are my dream keeper. I have always marked u better than gillcrist and there was no one for ur comparision. Being a die heart fan of SA will always want u to be in the field but as rightly said its not all about cricket. Hope u receover fully and quickly.. Our and god wishes are with u and ur family forever. Miss u My MASTER KEEPER

  • Rukky on July 11, 2012, 4:15 GMT

    I really pray to god - "May god help him to get rid of this injury, May he have a very peaceful life, and May God help him to play for His Country once again". I really appreciate his contribution to his national SA team. I pray he will be fine very very soon.

    Neeraj-India

  • 1st_april on July 11, 2012, 4:14 GMT

    Mark Boucher----Grit...Guts...and the ultimate street fighter...RESPECT :-)

  • bangladeshi_heart on July 11, 2012, 4:12 GMT

    Very sad incident, I pray for his quick recovery, I remember him since '99 world cup, when he was a young wicketkeeper in the team, he hit quite a number of useful boundaries to win a crucial match against Pakistan in a tensed situation.. so much to my astonishment that I had to say - this is some player.. salute to him.

  • on July 11, 2012, 4:08 GMT

    what a loss to world of cricket....an outstanding player..Hats Off

  • on July 11, 2012, 4:06 GMT

    Hope for Complete recovery.

  • on July 11, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    A truly sad day for Mark, his family, friends, team mates and the cricketing world as a whole! Wishing you a speedy and successful recovery from the Seychelles!

  • on July 11, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    Unfortunate way to see such a great cricketer leave international cricket!!, I think cricket lost another vital heroes while now new players are not willing for longer version cricket !!!

  • Cory11 on July 11, 2012, 4:03 GMT

    I am an Australian in 2001 my cousin was a big fan of him, in the warm up we asked him if we could have a photo rather reluctantly i might add but Mark was fine with it and he was a true gentleman so sad to see him go this way he certainly deserved to end his career on a high note you will be sadly missed mate.

  • skumar77 on July 11, 2012, 3:57 GMT

    Mark Boucher has been a true servant of South African cricket. His conduct set an example for others on the field. Sad to see one of the legends of the game going out like this. Wishing him a speedy recovery and a great future.

  • on July 11, 2012, 3:55 GMT

    I hope Mark will recover very soon. My heartiest love for him..

  • DataQue on July 11, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    I wish Mark a quick recovery!!! A legend has retired from the cricketing world!!

  • on July 11, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    I hope Mark Boucher recovers fully! One of SA's best wicket-keeper batsmen!

  • on July 11, 2012, 3:30 GMT

    Here's wishing Mark a speedy and full recovery.

  • on July 11, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    Mark has been the most underrated person in the SA setup for ages. The amount of sheer willpower and grit hes shown over the years is phenominal. When he took over from Richardson there were many questions about weather this lighty could cut it. Today hes no lighty but a juggernaut. I'm gutted his career has to end like this, he deserved this series as his swansong. Wishing you a speedy recovery Mark. Thanks for the memories.

  • TheMehssiah on July 11, 2012, 3:24 GMT

    From an England fan:

    Legends of the game deserve to go out on their own terms. It's a tragedy for Mark and for cricket that he hasn't been able to do so. Here's to a fantastic career and a great guy. This series, and cricket as a whole, will miss you. I'm sure we all hope that you will recover quickly and enjoy the future you deserve.

  • on July 11, 2012, 3:22 GMT

    Get well soon mark. All the best for rest of your life

  • Lakpj on July 11, 2012, 3:20 GMT

    Great player and a true gentleman, on the other hand one of the most unluckiest players as well. played as a player in few of the best teams that SA have had that failed to win any major cricket championship. I think he ended up with 999 international dismissal. it is unfortunate that he could not make that magical 1000. anyway well played, wishing for a speedy recovery and have a great time after cricket.

  • getsetgopk on July 11, 2012, 3:09 GMT

    The saddest of retirements I've seen was of Inzi but Marks' departure tops it all for me, because of painful circumstances around it. Personally I thought it would have been best if he announced his retirement after the tour has ended, it will flood a sea of emotions for SA squad that might affect their performance on the ground, Mark I believe is in good hands and will get his eye sight completely recovered I hope and pray to be so but a terrible terrible loss for SA squad, cricketers of 90's are irreplaceable!

  • Divinetouch on July 11, 2012, 3:06 GMT

    Speedy recovery Mark and may divine grace be with you and your family at all times. You are a true ambassador of the game.

  • therealutopianindigent on July 11, 2012, 2:58 GMT

    Now that it's over I am just sad but also proud to live in the same country as Mark Boucher. What a man. I hope for a 100% recovery. May the Proteas make u proud.

  • on July 11, 2012, 2:58 GMT

    Dear Mark, We all pray the God for you to recover 100% as quick as possible. Don't worry.

  • on July 11, 2012, 2:53 GMT

    Best wicketkeeper and great human being. Hope you make a 100% recovery

  • coolindianfan on July 11, 2012, 2:37 GMT

    I am an Indian, but I enjoyed watching Mark Boucher. Sad that his career ended so tamely .ILL remember him as the batsmen who hit the winning run in the record 434 chasing against the all conquering Aussies .Thanx for the memories Mark .I Hope he recovers from his injury .Wish him a great life ahead

  • BolwedNate on July 11, 2012, 2:34 GMT

    Best sledger in the game! No one could turn a phrase on the feild like Boucher! That aside! Shattered that he won't be on the England tour! Hope he may be able to come back once recovered?? Would love to see it!

  • bharat.agr on July 11, 2012, 2:31 GMT

    Dear Mark, You have been a pleasure to all the cricket lovers' eyes. The way you have shown determination, grit and the way you have come out as a warrior all the time is inspiring to all the younger generation to show what you can achieve if you have solid work ethics and commitment to whatever you want to do in life. My heart goes out to hear about the unfortunate incident and more over the repercussions. I wish you and all your family strength to cope with these sad times and I do wish you a fast recovery. I would have loved to see you achieving that golden mark of 1000 dismissals but nevertheless it doesn't in any sense undermine your achievement on the field. Alas, if only you had wore a face mask or a helmet....but.....my best wishes....get well soon. I do hope that SA goes on to crush England to bid you a perfect farewell. You are a true legend and an inspiration for all crickets and specially wicket-keepers. My Best Wishes

  • gtzshotta on July 11, 2012, 2:30 GMT

    Hope for a full recovery. All keepers onto now please wear helmets to medium pacers and spinners.

  • yocasi on July 11, 2012, 2:25 GMT

    Hopes of a speedy and total recovery for Mark. In spite of the rivalries when our various countries play each other, at heart all cricket fans are in it for love of the game and the players who make it happen for us. All the best to the S.A. squad and cricket famiyl. From Grenada, West Indies

  • jaininshah9 on July 11, 2012, 2:22 GMT

    Sad way to see such a great cricketer leave this way!!

  • on July 11, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    YOU WILL BE MISS BUT GOD IS GRATE AN I WISH U ALL D BEST IN RECOVERING AN KEEP U IN MY PRAYS

  • on July 11, 2012, 1:46 GMT

    Really sad situation. as Smith said it brings sports and life in perspective when something like this happee. Speedy recovery Boucher

  • gunnerr4life on July 11, 2012, 1:40 GMT

    This retirement reminds me of the retirement of jonty Rhodes ... He too was forced to retire because of an injury just before the world cup ! Of course , Boucher's injury looks a lot more serious ... a sad way to retire .. we'll all remember this great sportsman for ever ...

  • AAN_GINA on July 11, 2012, 1:38 GMT

    Mark Boucher, legendary fighter, grafter, finisher, wish you all the very best in this fight of yours!!

  • on July 11, 2012, 1:29 GMT

    Great cricketer from a great team and a wonderful country. Hope he recovers fully from this ordeal. I feel deeply for Mark and Imran, as Imran would not be able to forgive himself for quirk of fate!

  • subbass on July 11, 2012, 1:12 GMT

    Good luck Bouchie. Respect from England.

  • EdRNZ on July 11, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    How fortunate we have been in the last two decades to have witnessed the talents of the greatest wicket-keepers / batsmen to have ever played the game - Flower, Gilchrist, Sangakarra, Dhoni, and Boucher. We in NZ have watched on enviously! A sad end to an outstanding career. We all wish for a full recovery and a happy and successful post-cricket life for one of the game's true greats.

  • Gizza on July 11, 2012, 1:05 GMT

    I have relative who had an eye injury in their childhood and slowly lost their sight in that eye. Being half-blind is a terrible thing and I just hope the doctors save Boucher's eye. Nothing else is as important as that. It also makes those of us who have two working eyes feel very lucky considering there are people who cannot see at all.

  • NRPOnline on July 11, 2012, 0:58 GMT

    *sob* It is a good testament that Boucher could deal with anything. It needed destiny to throw "The doosra" at Mark to get rid of him from the game. But the boxer will fight tooth and nail (as he always does on the field) and try to win the battle against destiny. Good luck Mark!!! As much as we all are eager to, there is very little to nothing we can do to help you win this battle. It is your own like you always considered every battle on the field also exclusively yours. My heart goes to you bud. Do give us a chance to tell the brave story of your 100% recovery. We sure will talk about that over a glass of beer. That sure will keep you in our hearts for many many year.

  • on July 11, 2012, 0:54 GMT

    It's really unfortunate that an incident like this took place, but that's life I guess. Hope he makes a full recovery. All the best.

  • IndianInnerEdge on July 11, 2012, 0:48 GMT

    Sad to see him go, and in this manner, Pray to God the injury is not serios and he retains sight.I think either face masks or eye shades are the way to go for future keepers. He will be always remembered as an excellent keeper and a scrappy fighter of a batsmen. Adios Mark, from your indian fan

  • Crazy4cricket40 on July 11, 2012, 0:43 GMT

    Boucher you are legend, we will miss you for many many years....as smith said they can't replace you. very sad for the whole cricketing world...

  • on July 11, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    I am extremely saddened by the outcome of this unfortunate incident. As much as it testifies that life itself which should and is, bigger than the sport we all love, it is by far an inconsolable loss not only for SA cricket but the sport in its totality. Loved the lad. Guess its not untimely to note that SA as a team should be spurred by this and make the opportunity count and not otherwise. It's all tantalisingly poised for a riveting series of test cricket minus the one guy who turned a thankless job behind the stumps around its head.

  • Steve3277 on July 11, 2012, 0:37 GMT

    I hope every keeper standing up to the stumps takes notice of this. Helmets or faceguards should nearly be compulsory. Having had a broken nose requiring two operations to fix, I can count myself lucky compared to Mark Boucher.

    I keep coming back to the ridiculous article posted by Christian Ryan on this website where he claimed that Brad Haddin, ruined the easthetics of the game by wearing a helmet when standing up. Well Christian, what are you thoughts now!

    Hopefully Mark keeps his sight. A sad end to a wonderful career.

  • on July 11, 2012, 0:36 GMT

    On 1 July 1961, Nawab of Pataudi Mansur Ali Khan was a passenger in a car which was involved in an accident in Hove, England. A piece of glass from the broken windscreen penetrated and permanently damaged his right eye. The damage caused Pataudi to see a doubled image, and it was feared this would end his cricketing career, but Pataudi was soon in the nets learning to play with one eye & returned to active cricket in 6 months time. Its 10th July 2012, exactly 51 years and 9 days later, once again in England, another valiant cricketer "Mark" meets a similar fate, albeit on the field. I just pray that history "repeats" itself and he is back for one last laugh on field. God bless & pray for your speedy recovery for the South African hero & brave heart.

  • randhira on July 11, 2012, 0:35 GMT

    Get well soon Boucher !!!

  • luks on July 11, 2012, 0:35 GMT

    Hope Mark has a full recovery. Best wishes.

  • on July 11, 2012, 0:24 GMT

    nuggety 50's at Test level will be missed. Didn't start out that way but became one of the finest wicket batsmen in the history of the game through love of team and enormous concentration and grit. More than that, his intense influence on Smith's captaincy and thee speedsters comfort with him is irreplaceable at this late stage.

  • on July 11, 2012, 0:19 GMT

    Absolutely gutted for Mark Boucher. A truly great competitor. Mark I hope that you remain involved in south African cricket as a coach and or mentor. If you are in Brisbane for the first test in a few months I would love to shout you a beer.

    May your recovery be as complete and swift as posilbe in the circumstances.

  • on July 11, 2012, 0:16 GMT

    Wishing a speedy recovery for Mark Boucher - one of the game's great fighters.

  • Nutcutlet on July 11, 2012, 0:13 GMT

    Mark Boucher - a fighter if ever there was, a hugely respected opponent, a great team player - in so many ways representative of all that is admirable in post-apatheid SA cricket - please recover quickly and as fully as possible .Along with thousands of other cricket fans in England I will miss your presence on the field this summer and so wish things could have been different. For now, just get better, with all best wishes.

  • Tusker17 on July 11, 2012, 0:06 GMT

    A real good cricketer ! Sad to see him bow-out in this fashion ! Hope he recovers fully!

  • Grutness on July 11, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    Hoping for a full recovery for Mark - best wishes to him, his family, and the team. If he is unable to play again, it will be similar to the loss of one of my boyhood heroes, footballer Gordon Banks, who was a brilliant keeper (goal, not wicket, in his case), but was forced to retire after a serious eye injury. He became a coach, and - if Mark's injury is long-term - I am sure there will be a significant role he can still play in the game. For now though, fighting on to a full recovery is at the top of my hopes.

  • on July 11, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    I think that I accurately represent the sentiments of cricket fans in the Caribbean when I say that the news of Mark Boucher's injury is sad news indeed! Cricket has its rivalry, and we know what it is to be world beaters and we also know how tough it is to be thrashed! But the human element remains paramount! We hope and pray that Mr. Boucher will have a full and speedy recovery. Meanwhile, his family, relatives, friends, and fans can be assured that our prayers are with them during these trying times! Best wishes!

  • NAZMO-CRICKFANN on July 10, 2012, 23:56 GMT

    this is very sad news. i extend my emphaty to mr boucher and his family and team mates as well as all cricket lovers around the world as i am sure we all feel this loss

  • on July 10, 2012, 23:44 GMT

    My thoughts are with him and his family. Wish you all the best, hope it heals soon. A very sad end to a great cricketer and bloke.

  • SaracensBob on July 10, 2012, 23:40 GMT

    An England fan writes - " God bless you Mr Boucher!" You have been a fantastic player and great servant of our great game. I am truly sorry that you will not be competing against us this summer and wish you a speedy, and complete, recovery.

  • on July 10, 2012, 23:35 GMT

    Mark Boucher = ABSOLUTE LEGEND!!! Wishing you a speedy recovery Mark....

  • tappee74 on July 10, 2012, 23:34 GMT

    I was deeply moved by this article.It could have been anyone,no one wants to be in a fearing situation like Boucher and the world that cry for him.I hope the worst is, he may no be able to play test cricket,but i pray to the allmighty that he doesn't loose his sight.May God shower his choicest blessings on him.

  • on July 10, 2012, 23:22 GMT

    You are a great ambassador of the game Mark, hope for your complete & speedy recovery.

  • on July 10, 2012, 23:13 GMT

    Im deeply saddened by this evil event. Although he was going to retire shorltly its a great loss to the game of cricket. I hope he recovers soon and retains his sight in his effected eye.

  • khanofspn on July 10, 2012, 23:00 GMT

    Wish you all the best Mark. We would love to see you complete 1000 dismissals.

  • InsideHedge on July 10, 2012, 23:00 GMT

    Lots of ppl banging on about wearing a helmet but protective shades or a face mask is a better alternative.

  • InsideHedge on July 10, 2012, 22:59 GMT

    It's shocking to read that Mark's full eyesight is not yet confirmed. Praying that he will recover 100%, the cricket is irrelevant esp for someone who's had a long and distinguished career.

  • on July 10, 2012, 22:56 GMT

    This is extremely sad news for cricket fans everywhere - especially for England and South African fans who were looking forward to a memorable series. I hope both sides play out of their skins for him. Give him something to watch while he recovers :).

  • landl47 on July 10, 2012, 22:55 GMT

    Hoping for a full recovery- that's what matters now.

  • cricsavvy on July 10, 2012, 22:52 GMT

    This is a sad ending for Boucher.Good luck Mark. God will save you from loosing your eyesight.

  • johnnycash on July 10, 2012, 22:49 GMT

    Well played Mark Boucher. From myself here in Australia, you have always shown the mental toughness needed to compete at the highest level - test cricket. We always knew we were in for a fight when Mark Boucher was on the field or striding to the wicket. Best of luck with the recovery.

  • on July 10, 2012, 22:45 GMT

    Great piece of cricket journalism Firdose. Your jounalistic star continues to shine where mere mortals rule the mundane. Thanks.

  • pipes57 on July 10, 2012, 22:45 GMT

    Growing up Bouch has been the only SA test keeper I have known. He has got us out of trouble countless times with the bat and has been fantastic behind the stumps. Congratulations on a great career which should go down as one of the best. A great man and player. My thoughts are with you and hoping that you make a full recovery.

  • pom_don on July 10, 2012, 22:44 GMT

    I hope he makes a full & speedy recovery, wish him well.

  • Robster1 on July 10, 2012, 22:42 GMT

    Terribly sad news - as Kallis rightly says, all that matters is that Boucher regains his sight. Thank goodness too that AB is at least taking the gloves short term - Tsolkelie is no replacement.

  • GMFoley on July 10, 2012, 22:30 GMT

    Huge loss to SA cricket. Hope they can still beat the Poms without him, but it will be tough now.

  • ashraja on July 10, 2012, 22:28 GMT

    Tears are rolling down my eyes as I write this. No words can describe what a great person and cricketer he is. I wish him and his family all the best. He made his debut against Pakistan, my team against really quality pacers. Hope he recovers fully.

  • i_witnessed_2011 on July 10, 2012, 22:23 GMT

    Get well soon Boucher... You are a fighter and wish you speedy recovery...

  • ElBeeDubya on July 10, 2012, 21:52 GMT

    Boucher has been a great fighter on the field and I hope his spirit would help him overcome this and recover quickly.

  • SanjivAwesome on July 10, 2012, 21:09 GMT

    Get well soon Mark. My sincere thoughts and well wishes are with you. Your skills are legendary and you are a hero to me and my kids.

  • on July 10, 2012, 20:49 GMT

    Sad end to an amazing career...... :-( Hope the road to recovery is speedy and smooth.

  • sk12 on July 10, 2012, 20:41 GMT

    Lesson to all keepers. Always wear helmet while standing up to the stumps.

  • FR3AKX on July 10, 2012, 20:36 GMT

    It's a SAD SAD day not only for Mark's family, friends, teammates and fans but in general for this sport as well since it has lost one it's greatest wicketkeepers and such a humble yet jovial personality on or off the field. I pray that he recovers from this severe injury and gets his eye sight back soon. GOD BLESS YOU MARK!!

  • grover on July 10, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    for now it looks bad for him with eye and all, but hope all goes well and he recovers soon. from cricket point of view nothing will change much 1000 and 999 are just numbers nobody can touch either. His place in greatness is secured

  • KrazyToes on July 10, 2012, 19:11 GMT

    Every wicket keeper should wear protective glasses from now on - this should be mandated by ICC. Better to be safe than sorry. We dont need more repeats of incidents like this. Hope Boucher has a early recovery and comes back strong. Wishing him well.

  • 5wombats on July 10, 2012, 19:03 GMT

    Shocking. We are all so fragile. Wish you well Mark Boucher.

  • on July 10, 2012, 18:20 GMT

    I hope that Mark recovers from this career ending injury. I wanted him out of the S.A. test side but for S.A. wicket keeping developmental reasons and certainly not due to the horrendous injury which occurred at Somerset. I wish Mark a quick recovery and all the best in his future endeavors and i no doubt believe that he will continue to serve South African cricket just as apt.

  • on July 10, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    Hope his eyes get well soon again

  • on July 10, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    Sad that he had to leave the game like this, praying that he recovers fully. Greatest Wicket Keeper ever, nice to see Kallis' support for his dear friend, still remember the games and pranks both of them used to play during the IPL when both of them represented Royal Challengers Bangalore.

  • on July 10, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    No its not just about cricket anymore. I did not know him personally, but I did know him on the screen and I have liked what I saw. i am very sad this day.

  • on July 10, 2012, 18:06 GMT

    It's really not about cricket... It's about the wellbeing of a true legend. It's a term which is bandied about quite loosely - but Mark Boucher is truly deserving of the label. I hope he recovers as well as is possible. All the best to him.

  • on July 10, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    MY GOD!!! WHAT A BLOW!!! ITS NOT FAIR ON HIM, NOT ON HIS FAMILY, NOT ON HIS TEAM!!! I PRAY (AS I KNOW ALL HIS FANS WILL) THAT HIS SIGHT RECOVERS!!!EVERYTHING ELSE IS SECONDARY AT THIS STAGE!!!

  • Ragav999 on July 10, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    Very sad that Boucher got hurt and had to retire. The sport can be so cruel sometimes.

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  • Ragav999 on July 10, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    Very sad that Boucher got hurt and had to retire. The sport can be so cruel sometimes.

  • on July 10, 2012, 17:56 GMT

    MY GOD!!! WHAT A BLOW!!! ITS NOT FAIR ON HIM, NOT ON HIS FAMILY, NOT ON HIS TEAM!!! I PRAY (AS I KNOW ALL HIS FANS WILL) THAT HIS SIGHT RECOVERS!!!EVERYTHING ELSE IS SECONDARY AT THIS STAGE!!!

  • on July 10, 2012, 18:06 GMT

    It's really not about cricket... It's about the wellbeing of a true legend. It's a term which is bandied about quite loosely - but Mark Boucher is truly deserving of the label. I hope he recovers as well as is possible. All the best to him.

  • on July 10, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    No its not just about cricket anymore. I did not know him personally, but I did know him on the screen and I have liked what I saw. i am very sad this day.

  • on July 10, 2012, 18:10 GMT

    Sad that he had to leave the game like this, praying that he recovers fully. Greatest Wicket Keeper ever, nice to see Kallis' support for his dear friend, still remember the games and pranks both of them used to play during the IPL when both of them represented Royal Challengers Bangalore.

  • on July 10, 2012, 18:16 GMT

    Hope his eyes get well soon again

  • on July 10, 2012, 18:20 GMT

    I hope that Mark recovers from this career ending injury. I wanted him out of the S.A. test side but for S.A. wicket keeping developmental reasons and certainly not due to the horrendous injury which occurred at Somerset. I wish Mark a quick recovery and all the best in his future endeavors and i no doubt believe that he will continue to serve South African cricket just as apt.

  • 5wombats on July 10, 2012, 19:03 GMT

    Shocking. We are all so fragile. Wish you well Mark Boucher.

  • KrazyToes on July 10, 2012, 19:11 GMT

    Every wicket keeper should wear protective glasses from now on - this should be mandated by ICC. Better to be safe than sorry. We dont need more repeats of incidents like this. Hope Boucher has a early recovery and comes back strong. Wishing him well.

  • grover on July 10, 2012, 19:43 GMT

    for now it looks bad for him with eye and all, but hope all goes well and he recovers soon. from cricket point of view nothing will change much 1000 and 999 are just numbers nobody can touch either. His place in greatness is secured