A BATTING WITH BIMAL BREAKING REPORT: Former and current cricketers extend their good wishes to Mark Boucher

The cricketing world still remains shocked and saddened by the premature retirement of Boucher

With South African wicketkeeper batsman Mark Boucher retiring prematurely due to a freak eye injury, many former and current cricketers have extended their good wishes.

Boucher’s team-mate and current South African Test captain Graeme Smith believes that nobody can ever replace the wicketkeeper.

“I don’t think you can replace Mark Boucher. That’s not what we’re trying to do, We’re trying to respect what he’s given us and hopefully play with him in our hearts and minds through the next few years. He’s created a legacy for a lot of us to be a part of and to look up to. We need to respect what he’s done for our country and be proud of that. Things happened yesterday and his reality has changed. But as people we are trying to stand by him and help him through this process,” Smith said.

Jacques Kallis, who has been a team-mate of Boucher’s for years, said: “It’s not about cricket any more. It’s about a mate and hoping he recovers fully. It puts cricket and life into perspective. It’s been a very tough 24 hours not only for myself but for his family and team-mates. All we can do is be there and support. He’s in good hands and he has all of our well wishes as well as from people around the world.”

Former Indian wicketkeeper Saba Karim, who was also hit on the eye, believes he can relate to what Boucher is going through, and said: “It’s really unfortunate but probably I can relate to his situation as I had gone through the same situation. The feeling gradually seeps in and I can tell you it is very difficult to accept initially. I am surprised that he wasn’t wearing a helmet which all ‘keepers do nowadays. Maybe a bit low intensity as it was a game against a county side. But again Imran Tahir is a bowler, who gets a lot of bounce from the wicket and keepers need to be careful. You feel bad knowing the world class performer that he has been.”

Current England wicketkeeper Matt Prior, via his Twitter account, said: “Just  seen the news about Mark. Very sad he’s missing the series [against England] and hope he makes a full and speedy recovery. Go well mate.”

Former England captain Michael Vaughan, who has played against Boucher in many series, called him one of the greatest keepers to ever play in the game.

“We have called Matt Prior the engine of England team for the last two years. Well, Boucher has been the engine of the South Africa team for 15 years in all formats of the game. He has been an amazing cricketer in terms of skill level and also his competitive nature. He is a guy that sees things in a very proactive fashion. He’ll be massively missed. He is definitely up there with the best,” Vaughan said.

Former South Africa and current Australia coach Mickey Arthur also wished Boucher a speedy recovery.

“I was really disappointed for him, I think he finished on 999 dismissals and just short of 150 Test matches. I know he wanted to come here because he wanted it to be his real swansong as a Test series, so really disappointing it end this way for Mark. I think he’s right up there. You have a look at his batting and wicketkeeping stats and they’re phenomenal,” Arthur said.

Boucher’s former team-mate Makhaya Ntini was saddened to hear the news about his long time friend, and via his Twitter account said: “A very sad day in cricket hearing the news of @markb46 retirement, we were still shocked by news of his injuries. You’ll always be a legend.”

Former South African captain Shaun Pollock, who played alongside Boucher in many series, was extremely sad to see Boucher end his career in this fashion.

“Very sad Bouch’s career had to end in this way, he deserved a really good send-off 4 all he had done 4 the Proteas, congrats on a gr8 career!” Pollock said on his Twitter account.

Former England wicketkeeper Alec Stewart also congratulated Boucher on his outstanding career, and said: “Congratulations to @markb46 on a fine career brought to a premature end. Hope the eye op proves successful. Life member of keepers’ union.”

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