South Africa batsman Jacques Rudolph says he and his team-mates will be trying to make the recently retired Mark Boucher proud in the upcoming Test series with England.
Boucher was forced to retire from international cricket last week, after being hit in the eye by a flying bail while keeping wicket in a tour match against Somerset at Taunton.
The 35-year-old suffered a significant injury during the incident and has now flown home to undergo more surgery on the problem.
However, the early signs are good for the 147 Test veteran and doctors are confident that he will retain some sight in his eye, meaning he shouldn’t be too affected by the problem in the future.
Graeme Smith’s men are now set to face England in their first series without Boucher which starts on Thursday at the Oval and will see AB De Villiers take over behind the stumps.
The teams will also meet at both Headingley and Lord’s in August in what promises to be the highlight of the cricketing summer. Punters on betfair are struggling to separate the two teams, who currently occupy the top two positions in the world rankings.
Rudolph admits that the loss of Boucher has taken its toll on him and his team-mates after playing with the stalwart for so many years. He also confesses that their build-up to the series has not been ‘ideal’. Former England skipper Michael Vaughan Tips his old team to triumph in his latest column, mainly due to the chaotic build-up for the tourists.
However, Rudolph says the incident has given them extra motivation ahead of the series and believes they will be using the wicket-keeper's plight as inspiration.
"What happened in Taunton was quite traumatic for the whole team," said the 31-year-old. "But we made a decision that we've got to try to move on from that as quickly as possible, especially from an emotional point of view.
"Bouch has played a big role in this team. The fact that he is not here will give us a bit more inspiration to do well for him."