• South Africa in England 2012

Eye injury ends Boucher's England tour

Firdose Moonda in Taunton
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Mark Boucher got struck by a bail after Gemaal Hussain was bowled © Getty Images
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Mark Boucher's England tour is over after he had surgery to repair his left eyeball that was severely damaged during the tour match against Somerset.

Boucher had had to leave the field at the end of the 46th over of Somerset's innings on Monday when a googly from Imran Tahir hit the stumps and a dislodged bail struck Boucher in the left eye. He will return to South Africa as soon as he is able to travel.

"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."

The setback looms as a potential career-ender as Boucher had said the tour of England would be his last. If that proves to be true, Boucher will end on 999 international dismissals, including 555 from 147 Tests, which is a record.

Thami Tsolekile, earmarked as the successor to Boucher and nationally contracted from April 1, is the likeliest candidate to be called up as the replacement wicketkeeper. Tsolekile recently played for the South Africa A side in the two unofficial Tests against Sri Lanka A and has also been named in the squad to travel to Ireland to shadow the senior side from the third Test.

He last played for South Africa in 2004 when he represented the country in three Tests including one against England at Port Elizabeth.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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