JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - NOVEMBER 15, Mark Boucher in the nets during the South African Proteas practice session at Bidvest Wanderers Stadium on November 15, 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa Photo by Duif du Toit / Gallo Images

Mark Boucher's international cricket career may have come to an abrupt end after he was sent home from South Africa's tour of England with an eye injury on Tuesday.

Boucher was hit in the left eye by a bail after an Imraan Tahir delivery struck the stumps on the opening day of their first tour match against Somerset.

Cricket SA (CSA) confirmed on Tuesday that he would return home to South Africa following surgery to his ruptured left eyeball. The long-term prognosis to his injury was unclear.

“Mark’s surgery, which lasted nearly three hours, showed that he sustained a severe eye injury,” team manager Mohammed Moosajee said in a statement.

“Although the surgeon was able to repair the eyeball, the sensitive nature of the injury makes it difficult to determine the extent of the long-term damage.

“I spent the night with him in the recovery ward at the hospital and he has been overwhelmed by the messages of support and care he has received from all corners of the world.”

Boucher, 35, indicated before the tour that it was likely to be his last with the national team.

“He will take no further part in the series against England and will return back to South Africa as soon as possible,” Moosajee said.

The selectors were to make an announcement regarding a replacement for him on Wednesday.

Limited overs skipper AB de Villiers, already on tour, could replace Boucher behind the stumps, but Thami Tsokekile, a CSA contracted player, is expected to be called up. – Sapa