South Africa wicketkeeper Mark Boucher has retired from international cricket following the eye injury he suffered during Monday's tour game against Somerset.
The 35-year-old required three hours of surgery in Taunton on Monday night and, after being released on Tuesday morning, it was initially confirmed he would leave the tour. But, in a prepared statement read out by his Proteas skipper Graeme Smith during lunch at the tour game on Tuesday, it was revealed the injury had forced Boucher to end his international career.
"It is with sadness and pain that I announce that I will not be able to play international cricket again," the statement read by Smith said.
Boucher revealed that he had intended to retire at the end of the current tour, when he was due to play his 150th Test in the final match of the upcoming series against England.
He added: "It is with sadness and in some pain that I make this announcement, but due to the severity of my eye injury I will not be able to play international cricket again.
"I prepared for this UK tour as well, if not better, than I have prepared for any tour in my career. I had never anticipated announcing my retirement now but circumstances have dictated differently.
"I have a number of thank-yous to make to people who have made significant contributions during my international career, which I will do in due course.
"For now, I would like to thank the huge number of people, many of whom are strangers, for their heartfelt support during the last 24 hours. I am deeply touched by all the well wishes, and I wish the team well in the UK as I head home on to a road of uncertain recovery."
Boucher suffered the freak injury when he was struck by a flying bail while standing up to leg-spinner Imran Tahir on the opening day against Somerset. He fell the ground and was helped from the pitch with blood apparently coming from his left eye.
Boucher was taken to hospital immediately, where he had surgery to repair a laceration to the white of his eyeball, but concerns clearly remain over his long-term health.