10/07/2012 06:34 BST | Updated 10/07/2012 09:43 BST

Mark Boucher, South Africa Wicketkeeper, Retires From International Cricket After Eye Injury

Mark Boucher has retired from international cricket after a cricket bail lacerated his eyeball during a tour match on Monday.

He was initially announced as out of South Africa's England tour, but the injury has brought a premature end to a distinguished international career.

South Africa captain Graeme Smith hailed Boucher as "one of the greats".

"For the 14 years of your International career, you have been a true Proteas warrior, a patriotic South African, a fighter who asks nothing and gives everything. You have been a 100 percenter for this team," Smith said on the South Africa Cricket Website.

The experienced wicket keeper underwent surgery the same evening after he withdrew from the tour match with Somerset, before South Africa Cricket confirmed he would not be available for the remainder of the tour.

South Africa's team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee told Cricinfo after he had visited Boucher in hospital the extent of his injury was "severe" but the eyeball was "repaired during the operation".

He did however add "long-term prognosis at this stage remains unknown".

A replacement will be named on Wednesday, as South Africa bid to go a third successive Test series unbeaten on English soil.

AB de Villiers took the gloves from Boucher at Taunton, but Thami Tsolekile is the favourite to replace the 35-year-old.

Boucher has played in 147 Test matches for South Africa, and was part of the squad which last lost a Test series in England back in 1998.

He made his Test debut in October 1997 against Pakistan.