Proteas Women’s fast bowler Shabnim Ismail has announced her retirement from all forms of international cricket.
The 34-year-old says she wants to focus on her family and playing T20 franchise cricket around the world.
Ismail’s last appearance in the green and gold was in the historic Women’s T20 World Cup final against the eventual champions, Australia, on home soil in February.
Ismail was born and raised in Cravenby, Cape Town, and after impressing in her first season and a half for Western Province she was brought into the national set-up at the start of 2007.
Ismail made her ODI debut against Pakistan in January 2007 in Pretoria, and went on to take 191 wickets in 127 matches with an economy rate of 3.70 and best figures of 6-10 against the Netherlands in 2011.
She collected 113 T20I caps for South Africa, taking 123 wickets at a strike rate of 19.30 with career-best figures of 5-12 against Pakistan in 2021.
Ismail featured in four ODI World Cups and all eight T20 World Cups.
In her one and only Test cap for South Africa in 2007, Ismail picked up three wickets against the Netherlands, including a career-best 2-5.
“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,” Ismail said in a statement.
“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 teammates, 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.
“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.
“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.”