The most prolific wicketkeeper in international cricket, South Africa’s Mark Boucher announced his retirement on July 10 following a painful injury to his left eye. Boucher, 35, was struck in the eye by a bail in Taunton where South Africa were in a practice game against Somerset during their England tour.
Boucher retired with 999 dismissals in all international cricket. He had 555 Test dismissals with 523 catches, both records, in 147 Test matches. He also had 425 ODI dismissals, with 403 catches, which puts him behind only Australia’s Adam Gilchrist, who had 472 dismissals. Ironically, Boucher had indicated the England tour would be his last assignment for the Proteas before leaving South African shores.
Fortunately for Boucher, the important parts of the retina of his left eye were found to be intact after he underwent a second surgery in Cape Town. Doctors had feared he would be left totally blind in the damaged eye, but the prognosis improved over time.
As tribute to his best mate, Jacques Kallis pointed to his eye after scoring his 43rd Test century in the first Test match against England. "It was just my way of letting him know that he's still very much in our thoughts. It's sad to see a mate go out like that." The Graeme Smith-led team also paid tributes to Boucher after winning the series; South Africa's skipper wrote 'We miss you Bouch' on his shirt after they became the No. 1 Test team.