Proteas Women fast bowler Shabnim Ismail has retired from international cricket with immediate effect.
Ismail played one Test, 127 ODIs and 113 T20Is from 2007 to 2023.
“Dear, cricket family. After 16 years proudly representing my country, I have come to the difficult decision to retire from international cricket and move on to the next chapter of my life,” read a statement from Ismail.
“As any athlete knows, training and competing at your best requires much sacrifice and dedication, and I now find myself wanting to spend more time with my family, particularly my siblings and parents as they get older.
“They have always been my biggest support and I want to be able to be there for them in the way they have been there for me over the past 16 years. I really believe that reducing the amount of cricket I play will enable me to do this, and playing in global leagues is the only way I see to be able to fit in both family and cricket.
“As I look back on my international career, I am so grateful for all the opportunities and experiences I have had. I have loved being able to compete at the highest level and I am so proud of being able to be part of a wonderful group of players who have led the way for women in cricket. The memories I have will stay with me forever.
“I want to thank Cricket South Africa, my team-mates, coaches, and medical support staff for all their input and support over the years. What a journey it has been, and one that would not have been as meaningful if you had not been a part of it.
“To my fans – thank you for your unwavering support and encouragement. Your messages and cheers have lifted me up and kept me going when times were tough. I truly appreciate every one of you.”
Ismail has played for the UP Warriorz Women in the Women’s Premier League, Sapphires Women in the FairBreak Invitational Tournament and Melbourne Renegades Women in the Big Bash League – and will remain available for domestic cricket around the world.
“As I step into this new stage of life, I am excited to explore new opportunities and spend more time with those I love. However, cricket will always hold a special place in my heart, and I will continue to be a proud ambassador for the sport in South Africa,” she added.
“I look forward to continuing to perform at the highest level over the next few years across various T20 competitions across the globe. Thank you for everything.”
What Cricket South Africa said
CSA director of cricket Enoch Nkwe said: “This is a poignant but celebratory moment for South African cricket and the global game as a whole, as we celebrate and honour an incredible cricketer in Shabnim Ismail.
“Shabnim has transcended women’s cricket as a fierce competitor with the ability of making any batter uncomfortable at the crease with her rapid pace that regularly surpassed 120 kilometres per hour throughout her career.
“She will be sorely missed by the team and all South African cricket fans as she continues to inspire the next generation of cricketers during her remaining domestic career in all parts of the globe.
‘A true icon and cricketing great’
CSA chief executive officer Pholetsi Moseki added: “Today we bid farewell to a true icon of not only women’s cricket but the game in general during an international career that spanned more than 16 years.
“She led the line with ball in hand and rose to become one of South Africa’s most lethal bowlers, taking the most wickets in ODI and T20I cricket for her nation.
“Ismail will go down as a cricketing great and on behalf of CSA and all South Africans, I want to thank her for all her outstanding years of service to the sport and wish her the very best for the rest of her career and future endeavours.”