Craig Kieswetter (Left), Mark Boucher (Centre) and Paul Downton (Right) © Getty Images
Craig Kieswetter (Left), Mark Boucher (Centre) and Paul Downton (Right) © Getty Images

Craig Kieswetter announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Friday, having never recovered from the horrific eye injury that he sustained in July last year. The England wicketkeeper-batsman however, is not the first to get his career ended due to injury. Amit Banerjee explores other cricketers who suffered a similar fate.

Cricket is not known for being the safest among all sports. Injuries keep occurring in the ‘Gentleman’s game’ every now and then, with many a batsman suffering nasty consequences. Despite the introduction of a variety of protective gear in the form of helmets, elbow guards, etc, batsmen continue to fall prey to an occasional bouncer that results in them going back to the pavilion with a bloody nose. Phillip Hughes is the most recent such case in international cricket, succumbing to his injuries after getting struck by a bouncer despite wearing protective gear. READ: Craig Kieswetter announces retirement following eye injury

Craig Kieswetter had the misfortune of suffering such an injury in July last year, when he was struck by a delivery by David Willey while playing for Somerset against Northamptonshire during the County Championship. The ball happened to go through his helmet grille, and smash him on his face. An injured eye, along with a broken nose, cheekbone and a bloody face was what Kieswetter got following the incident, with doctors rushing to his aid immediately. READ: Craig Kieswetter retires from cricket: Twitter reactions

The South Africa-born cricketer however, is not the first to suffer such a cruel fate. Following are four other cricketers whose careers were curtailed following injury:

Mark Boucher: Perhaps the most famous name in such cases, Mark Boucher was keeping the wickets for South Africa during their warm-up fixture against Somerset in their 2012 tour of England. Leg-spinner Imran Tahir bowled Somerset batsman Gemaal Hussain, during which the bail flew towards Boucher’s eye. The bail caused a cut on his left eyeball, causing it to bleed.

Boucher was diagnosed immediately with a lacerated eyeball, and South Africa’s most successful wicketkeeper was forced to retire immediately after the injury, with Graeme Smith reading out a statement to the media on his behalf. Boucher retired with 998 international dismissals, out of which 555 were recorded in 147 Tests— a world record. READ: Mark Boucher, Jacques Kallis, Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers: The mini-entourage of South African cricket

Saba Karim: Another career brought to an end courtesy an eye injury. The wicketkeeper, who represented Bihar in the Ranji Trophy, was routinely ignored by the national selectors over a long period of time, mainly due to the preference of Nayan Mongia as the glovesman. He finally got his much-awaited chance during South Africa’s tour of India in 2000. Fate however decided to end his career even before he could consolidate on the opportunity.

Karim was struck on the right eye by a rising Anil Kumble delivery during the match against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup tournament held in the same year. Though he underwent surgery following the incident, Karim had to hang up his boots immediately. He would later go on to become a commentator and a national selector.

Nari Contractor: Nari Contractor is one of the most tragic cases in Indian cricket. The flamboyant batsman, who made his international debut in 1955, came to the limelight with a knock of 92 against West Indies in Delhi early in 1959. He scored his only Test century against Australia. During India’s tour of the Caribbean in 1961-62, Contractor was at the peak of his career, captaining the side as well as enjoying a good form with the bat.

During the tour game against Barbados, he was struck on the head by a Charlie Griffith delivery, with the injury turning life-threatening for some time. Several operations and other emergency measures were taken during the months that followed in order to keep the batsman alive. The incident ended his international career, but put up a brave show by continuing to participate in First-Class matches. READ: Head and face injuries in cricket — Part 1 of 3

Paul Downton: The former Managing Director of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) played international cricket for his country for more than a decade as a wicketkeeper-batsman, keeping the wickets for England in the 1987 World Cup. His career came to an abrupt end when he was struck in the eye by a bail, quite similar to Boucher’s case, which initially was viewed as a minor injury. Complications however began to grow from it, and he was soon forced to retire. READ: Six cricketers who were victims of eye problems

(Amit Banerjee, a reporter at CricketCountry, takes keen interest in photography, travelling, technology, automobiles, food and, of course, cricket. He can be followed on Twitter via his handle @akb287)