Boucher unlikely to return to cricket

Former Proteas cricketer Mark Boucher. (AP)

Former Proteas cricketer Mark Boucher. (AP)

The former Proteas wicketkeeper has lost the lens, iris and pupil of his left eye following the freak accident during a tour to England last month.

Boucher, who was due to retire at the end of the ill-fated Test series, retired immediately after the accident.

Addressing journalists at a briefing at Newlands cricket stadium on Wednesday, he ruled out both international and local cricket, saying the risk was too great.

"The risk of additional damage to my left eye or even damage to the other eye doesn't warrant it," he said.

Boucher, who has been in considerable pain at times, had two major operations and four blood-draining operations on the eye which suffered a laceration.

The wicketkeeper's international career spanned 15 years. He had 147 Test appearances and racked up 999 dismissals. He was the first wicketkeeper to take 500 catches in Test cricket and also scored five centuries.

In July, doctors speculated that Boucher might be able to regain some vision in his eye and perhaps return to cricket.
But it was not to be.

'Everything just went wrong'
Shuaib Manjra, who was treating Boucher, told the Sunday Times at the time that medics had been shocked by the amount of damage inflicted by the bail.

"The amount of damage is not commensurate with simply a bail hitting him, unless there was a freak angle [or] a freak speed and it hit him in a vulnerable spot – in other words, if everything just went wrong for him on that day."

South Africa's cricket team manager Muhammed Moosajee told the M&G because everything happened so quickly it was difficult to say exactly how Boucher had been injured. But it's believed that the ball, travelling closely behind the bail, had "accelerated" the bail into Boucher's eye.

"From the extent of the damage [the bail] had to be moving very fast, and that's why we think the ball tracked the bail and jammed it into the eye," he said.

This is not the first time that a cricketer has been hit in the eye with a bail. According to The Telegraph, England and Middlesex cricketer Paul Downton suffered a similar injury in 1990. But Downton's injury was much less severe – he suffered blunt trauma to the eye and not a laceration. Even so, Downton still has blurred vision in that eye.

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