SA pacer Shabnim Ismail announces international retirement

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  • Post published:May 3, 2023

Proteas Women fast bowler Shabnim Ismail has announced her retirement from all forms of international cricket with immediate effect.

Ismail has played in 241 international matches, and is considered one of the best bowlers in women’s cricket, having taken 317 wickets.

Ismail last played for South Africa in February of this year, when they faced eventual champion Australia at home in the 2023 ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final.

The right-arm fast bowler first appeared in an ODI for her country in January 2007 against Pakistan in Pretoria, and she went on to take 191 wickets in 127 total matches while maintaining an impressive economy rate of 3.70. Six for ten was her best performance, achieved in 2011 against the Netherlands.

Only India’s Jhulan Goswami (255 wickets) has more than Ismail, making him the second-highest wicket-taker in the format. Ismail took 37 wickets in 2022, including 14 at the 2022 ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup in New Zealand, making her a joint record holder for most Women’s ODI wickets taken in a calendar year.

Ismail also took 123 T20I wickets at a strike rate of 19.30 in 113 appearances, good enough for fourth all-time.

Between 2009 and 2022, Ismail played in four 50-over World Cups and eight Women’s Twenty20 World Cups.

The Proteas men’s team also paid their respects to the legendary bowler by saying: A legendary career comes to an end Thank you for sharing your talent with us Shabnim.”

Ismail released the following letter confirming her retirement from international cricket:

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.

As any athlete knows, training and competition at your best require 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 ad 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.