Updated: 10/08/2012 13:49 | By pa.press.net

Boucher: No hope for quick return



An eye injury sustained during a tour match last month forced Mark Boucher to retire

An eye injury sustained during a tour match last month forced Mark Boucher to retire

Former South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher admits he is "unlikely to play professional cricket in the near future" as a result of the horrific eye injury he sustained last month.

The 35-year-old had to leave the Test tour of England following the injury he suffered when a bail hit him in the eye in a tour match at Taunton on July 9 and it was confirmed the following day he had retired from international cricket.

Following an emergency operation in England, he flew home for further surgery in Cape Town, with his medical team later reporting they were optimistic Boucher had a "reasonable recovery" of the vision in his left eye.

On Wednesday, Boucher faced the South African media for the first time since the accident and revealed the full extent of the injury in a statement which was also released through Cricket South Africa.

"It has been a difficult time for me mentally and physically," he said. "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.

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

Boucher, who announced his retirement within 24 hours of the incident, revealed he had been inundated with messages of support since. Aside from thanking his family and friends, the South African also paid tribute to his team-mates.

"I have been overwhelmed by the incredible support I have received," he said. "Thank you to CSA and SACA for standing by me, to the Cobras for supporting me...and to the Proteas' Castle Lager squad - thank you for the amazing memories."

Boucher also voiced his determination as he continues on the road to recovery, saying: "I don't want people to feel sorry for me. Injuries happen and this could have happened earlier on in my career.

"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."

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