Mark Boucher rules out playing professional cricket in near future

Mark Boucher announced his retirement from international cricket after a bail hit him in the eye in a tour match at Taunton Getty Images

Johannesburg: Aug 8, 2012

Former South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher says he will be out of the game for some time, as he looks to regain full sight in his left eye after a freak accident tore his retina.

“It is unlikely that I will play any professional cricket again in the near future, which is very unfortunate as I was looking forward to contributing as a player for the (provincial side Cape) Cobras.

“The risk of additional damage to my left eye or even damage to the other eye, doesn’t warrant it,” Boucher said in a statement released through Cricket South Africa.

Boucher, 35, had to quit his country’s Test tour of England after a bail hit him in the eye in a tour match at Taunton on July 9. A day later it was announced that he had retired from international cricket.

He underwent emergency operation in England, then flew home for further surgery in Cape Town.

His medical team then said they were optimistic Boucher could recover vision in his left eye.

Boucher said: “It has been a difficult time for me mentally and physically — I have lost the lens, iris and pupil in my left eye. There was severe damage to my retina.

“I have had two major operations and four blood draining operations in the past three weeks and physically, at times, I have been in a lot of pain.

“I believe I am in good hands with my eye specialist and I accept that the healing process is a long one and that attaining some vision in my left eye will take some time and a lot of patience.

“It does get uncomfortable at times and being a sportsman, I want to be active and outdoors but, without a pupil, I find any amount of sunlight very harsh and have thus been restricted to the confines of my home.”

But he added that messages of support had helped.

“I have been overwhelmed by the incredible support I have received,” he said, although he insisted that he did not want people’s sympathy.

“Injuries happen and this could have happened earlier on in my career,” he explained.

“I am incredibly grateful for the length of career that I have had and the amazing things I have experienced and people I have met during that time.

“This is just another challenge in my life and something that I will be working to overcome.”

Doctors had feared the wicketkeeper would be left totally blind in the damaged eye but the prognosis has since improved.(AFP)