South Africa opener Lizelle Lee on Friday announced her retirement from all forms of international cricket with immediate effect. Lee, 30, who made her international debut in 2013 against Bangladesh, further said that she will continue to play domestic T20 cricket around the world.
The news comes as a huge blow for South Africa ahead of their women's ODI series against England, starting from July 11 in Northampton and most importantly, with the Commonwealth Games having the women's T20 event in Birmingham from July 29 to August 7.
Lizelle leaves the international cricket stage at pole place in the runs-scorer's list in women's T20I cricket for South Africa, while coming second to Mignon du Preez in women's ODIs. She was also the recipient of the ICC Women's ODI Cricketer of the Year 2021.
"It is with a lot of mixed emotions that I announce my retirement from international cricket. From a very young age, I have lived cricket and wanted to represent my country at the highest level. Over the past 8 years I was able to live that dream and I feel I have given everything I could to the Proteas.
"I feel that I am ready for the next phase in my career and will continue to play domestic T20 cricket around the world. It has been an incredible journey and it would not have been possible without everyone who has supported me during my international career.
I want to thank my family, especially my wife Tanja for all the sacrifices they have made for me to live out my dream to represent my country," said Lizelle in her retirement statement.In women's ODIs, Lizelle amassed 3,315 runs in 100 matches, including 23 half-centuries and three centuries at an average of 36.42, with a career-best score of 132 not out against India in Lucknow in March 2021.
In two Tests, last of which came against England in Taunton from June 27-30, she made 42 runs.In women's T20Is, she played 82 games for the Proteas, scoring 1,896 runs, averaging 25.62, while notching up 13 fifties and one hundred against Thailand during Women's T20 World Cup in 2020, making her only the second South African woman to reach triple figures in T20Is.
"Thank you to CSA, SACA and all stakeholders involved for the opportunities and support you afforded me to make my dreams of playing for the Proteas come true. My fellow Proteas teammates, thank you for the wonderful memories we have made together.
You have made this journey incredible, and I could not have done this without you."I will always be supporting you; we will always be rising together. Lastly to my fans, I am the person I am because of the love and support you have given me throughout my international career.
I look forward to continuing this journey with you in the different leagues around the world," concluded Lizelle."It is with great sadness that we have to bid farewell to a titan of South African cricket at a relatively young age, however we wholeheartedly respect the individual's decision and her desire to move onto the next chapter of her playing career.
"Lizelle has given this nation countless memorable moments on the field of play, most notably in 2021 when she was leading from the front with the bat towards being named the ICC Women's Cricketer of the Year in an effort to help South Africa soar to second place on the ICC ODI Rankings.
We wish her and her young family nothing but the best from here onwards," said Enoch Nkwe, Director of Cricket.