A LEGEND RETIRES
Shabnim Ismail finished her international career with the second-highest tally of wickets in ODIs © Getty
South Africa fast bowler Shabnim Ismail has announced her retirement from international cricket with immediate effect. The 34-year-old, known for her searing pace and passion for fast bowling, rose to become one of the best fast bowlers of her times and had even earned the nickname of “demon” in age-group cricket.
Ismail finishes with 1 Test, 127 ODIs and 113 T20I, picking 317 wickets in a career that spanned nearly 16 years. She played in four 50-over World Cups and all eight T20 World Cups, and hung up her boots with the second-highest tally of ODI wickets (191) behind India’s Jhulan Goswami.
“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 released by Cricket South Africa. “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.”
Ismail said she intends to play in the domestic T20 leagues 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 said. “I look forward to continuing to perform at the highest level over the next few years across various T20 competitions across the globe.”
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 120kph 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.”