Mark Boucher undergoes eye surgery; out of England tour

Zeenews Sports Bureau

Taunton: Veteran South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher would miss the entire Test series against England after he underwent surgery on his left eye on Monday for an injury he sustained when a bail hit him in the face.

"The extent of the eye injury can be described as severe. The eyeball (globe of the eye) was repaired during the operation," Mohammed Moosajee, the South Africa manager, told ESPNcricinfo.

"The long-term prognosis at this stage remains unknown. He is definitely out of the series and will return home as soon as able to travel. The selectors will announce a replacement shortly."

Boucher was standing up to the stumps when he was struck in the eye after legspinner Imran Tahir bowled Somerset's Gemaal Hussain and the bail flew up into the 'keeper's face. It happened on the opening day of South Africa's first tour match ahead of the three-test series against top-ranked England starting on July 19.

This could end Bouchar's illustrious career as he had said before the England series that this might be his last series in South African colour.

The 35-year-old Boucher has played 147 Tests and is on his final tour of England as he nears retirement from the national team. He holds the world record with 555 Test dismissals, over 100 more than Australia's Adam Gilchrist.

Boucher lay face down after being struck by the bail at Taunton's County Ground in south west England and was then helped from the field with blood coming from his eye. He was taken to a hospital.

Vice-captain AB de Villiers could stand in as wicketkeeper or South Africa might call up specialist Thami Tsolekile, who wasn't in the initial squad to tour England.

"The selectors back home are being kept abreast of what is happening," Moosajee said.