Gqeberha — Shabnim Ismail has brought an end to her legendary international career in order to focus on family.
The 34-year-old calls it a day after appearing in 241 international matches across all three formats for South Africa, in which she took 317 wickets as she established herself as one of the best fast bowlers in women’s cricket.
Ismail’s last appearance was in South Africa’s historic ICC Women’s T20 World Cup final against Australia on home soil at Newlands in February this year, where the Proteas went down by 19 runs.
“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,” said Ismail in her official retirement statement yesterday.
“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.”
Ismail has inspired many around the world with her fiercely competitive spirit.
She embodied what it truly means to be a Proteas – to never give up and also laid a solid foundation for the growth and success of women’s cricket in South Africa.
“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.
“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.”
Moving forward, she will continue to entertain crowds in leagues around the world with her pace and classic ‘fast bowler’s attitude’.
“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,” Ismail said.
“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.”