South Africa’s Shabnim Ismail, the number three ranked ODI bowler in the world, has announced her retirement from all forms of international cricket, bringing an end to a career that spanned 16 years.
Ismail, who made her debut way back in 2007, and is regarded the fastest bowler in the world, announced via an official statement that she’s decided to take the ‘difficult decision’ of quitting international cricket in order to spend more time with her family.
Ismail’s last appearance for South Africa came in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final against Australia, which the Proteas women lost by 19 runs. With 8 wickets in the competition, Ismail ended the T20 World Cup as South Africa’s second-highest wicket taker.
“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 her statement.
“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.”
The 34-year-old, however, confirmed that she will continue to play in franchise leagues across the globe. Most recently, Ismail represented Sapphires Women in the FairBreak Invitational T20 Tournament and also the UP Warriorz in the inaugural Women’s Premier League (WPL).
“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,” she said.
In her statement, Ismail claimed that she was immensely proud of what she managed to achieve in a South African shirt and asserted that Cricket South Africa will always hold a special space in her heart.
“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,” the 34-year-old said.
“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.
“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.”
Ismail ends her career having scalped a total of 317 international wickets. She is the all-time highest wicket-taker for South Africa in both ODIs and T20Is and is the second-highest wicket-taker of all time in ODI cricket with 191 scalps, behind India’s Jhulan Goswami.