Boucher retirement "huge loss" to South Africa says Bacher
July 11, 2012 -- Updated 1940 GMT (0340 HKT)
- Former South African chief Ali Bacher pays tribute to Mark Boucher
- Bacher says Boucher's enforced retirement will be a 'huge loss'
- Boucher set world records for dismissals by a wicketkeeper
- AB de Villiers set to take place behind stumps against England
(CNN) -- Record breaking wicketkeeper Mark Boucher's enforced retirement is a "huge loss" for South African cricket, its former chief Ali Bacher told CNN Wednesday.
Boucher was the victim of a freak accident while playing for the South African tourists in England against county side Somerset as splinters from a bail left him with a serious eye injury.
The 35-year-old Boucher was set to be a key figure for the Proteas in their upcoming series against Test cricket's top ranked team in England, but has been left in his own words with an "uncertain recovery " after emergency surgery on his left eye.
Bacher, who was in charge of South African cricket when Boucher first came to prominence in 1997, paid his own tribute.
"A fierce competitor, very determined, always playing to win. I would call him as a terrific pressure player," he said.
It's a huge loss for South African cricket, he's had a most distinguished career in cricket for his country
"He seemed to rise to the occasion, whenever South Africa got into trouble," Bacher added.
Boucher averaged just over 30 with the bat with five Test centuries, but his work behind the stumps set new milestones.
He has a record number of 555 dismissals in Tests and 999 in all forms of international cricket, a tantalizing one short of the thousand mark. He also played a record number of Tests at 147 for a wicketkeeper.
Many of them were during the career of former South African paceman Makhaya Ntini, the pair combining to send many batsmen back to the pavilion.
"I think special mention should be made of the role that he played in the ultimate success of Makhaya Ntini," said Bacher.
"There's no question, speaking to Makhaya on many occasions that Mark had a very profound beneficial effect on his career as a mentor, to guide him, to give him the benefit of his experience as Makhaya became an international budding star for South Africa."
Boucher had an inspirational effect on all his teammates and tributes have flooded in since his career was cut short in such unfortunate fashion.
Bacher, himself a former Test star, said it was likely AB de Villiers would take his place behind the stumps for the series against England which starts next week. Thami Tsolikile, 31, has also been drafted into the squad as a replacement.
But Bacher said Boucher would be tough to replace in the short term.
"It's a huge loss for South African cricket, he's had a most distinguished career in cricket for his country and he will certainly go down as one of our greatest ever cricketers."
Part of complete coverage on
April 15, 2014 -- Updated 1354 GMT (2154 HKT)
From the pool to the racetrack, the boxing ring and the ice rink -- experience the sporting week in pictures.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 1308 GMT (2108 HKT)
The 2002 bomb attacks in Bali had many victims -- including a touring rugby team from Hong Kong.
Photographer Danny Lyon spent three days with Muhammad Ali in 1972 and shares his best photos and memories of the champ.
February 25, 2014 -- Updated 1254 GMT (2054 HKT)
With a growing audience boosted by the drama of ice hockey on show in Sochi at the Winter Olympics, can the sport capitalize on its popularity?
January 20, 2014 -- Updated 1125 GMT (1925 HKT)
Her paintings may sell for thousands of dollars, but she is best known for a modeling shot 50 years ago that helped launch a business empire.
January 9, 2014 -- Updated 1701 GMT (0101 HKT)
When the eye of the storm closes in most people head home -- but for these surfers it's a different story.
January 6, 2014 -- Updated 1445 GMT (2245 HKT)
Gareth Evans is a school teacher in South Africa. In 1983, he attended a "rebel tour" cricket match against the West Indies.
December 17, 2013 -- Updated 1507 GMT (2307 HKT)
In the wake of protests in his native Ukraine, heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko has turned his back on boxing to focus on his political ambitions.
August 9, 2013 -- Updated 0920 GMT (1720 HKT)
The Olympics must use its global reach and immense popularity to help save a generation, says sporting icon Sergei Bubka.
August 7, 2013 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
CNN's Fred Pleitgen exposes a history of German government-funded doping throughout the Cold War.
April 9, 2013 -- Updated 1628 GMT (0028 HKT)
A six-day run that covers more than 220 km through the scorching heat of the Sahara desert has been billed as the "World's toughest race."
April 10, 2013 -- Updated 1149 GMT (1949 HKT)
He plays the only sport approved by the Taliban, a game he learned as a war refugee in Pakistan.
April 4, 2013 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
How do you like your sport? Blood, sweat, tears and a nailbiting finish, no doubt. But what about death?
Today's five most popular stories