Boucher hints his career

2012-08-09 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Mark Boucher has spoken candidly for the first time about his adjusted life with, at least for the time being, impaired vision.

At a poignant, packed press conference at Newlands yesterday, the veteran Proteas wicketkeeper all but admitted that his illustrious playing time at all levels — which included 999 dismissals as gloveman for South Africa across the three formats — was over.

It was his first public appearance since his freak, international career-ending injury to his left eye at Taunton in England almost a month ago.

Boucher (36) lost the lens, iris and pupil in that eye and has had two major operations and four blood-draining procedures in the past three weeks, although there remains cause for optimism that he will regain some vision in it.

“Physically, at times, I have been in a lot of pain,” he said in a statement, which he read largely without faltering before questions were invited from journalists. “I find any amount of sunlight very harsh and have thus been restricted to the confines of my home.”

Asked about his day-to-day life, he said: “After the [first] operation the headaches were quite bad. Sleeping at night … I was told initially to sleep on one side, which can get really irritating. You lose a lot of depth [of vision] … you go to shake a person’s hand and you end up shaking before the hands [meet], which is, well, different.

“It’s a bit like looking at the world through a toilet roll or something like that. I haven’t really felt up to doing anything. It’s been different. But people go through these things, you get over it, and I’ll lick my wounds and move on.”

Asked whether he was immediately aware of the severity of the accident, he said: “No. Your first reaction is to put your hand to your eye. I felt some sort of fluid coming out of the eye, and thought it was blood. But having a white glove on, I looked at it and there was no blood. I saw this white stuff on it which didn’t look too great. I tried to open the eye and couldn’t see much out of it. I started walking off the field and that’s where the shock sort of set in … I just lost my legs in front of me.”

Boucher also admitted that he had since watched “pretty much every ball” of the ongoing Test series against England on television.

“[During coverage] I get happy in the good times for the team, and sometimes in the tougher spells I almost wanted to jump through the screen and pat guys on the back, like when Kevin Pietersen was going strong [at Headingley] and we were struggling for wickets at one stage, to tell them to keep going. That’s the sort of time I’ve missed; where I knew I could make a bit of a difference. I’ve got to let that feeling go now. The team is in very good hands.”

Boucher also paid tribute to the way AB de Villiers has adapted to the void behind the stumps. “I think AB’s done really well. He didn’t go over there intending to ’keep, and the ball does tend to move around a lot — he hasn’t dropped too many …”

Boucher said he had shelved his plans for a continued playing role with the Cape Cobras. “At the moment … no. It depends on how the eye heals. That’s going to take a bit of time, and it’s about how much vision I do get back.”

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