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Lizelle Lee retires from international cricket

Lizelle Lee, the hard-hitting South African batter, announced her retirement from international cricket on Friday (July 8). The announcement comes ahead of South Africa’s three-match ODI series against England, which is set to begin on July 11.

The 30-year-old, who was named ICC Cricketer of the Year 2021, stated that she will remain available to play in international T20 leagues.

Lee, who made her international debut, in 2013 in the T20I home series against Bangladesh, has represented South Africa 2 Tests, 100 ODIs and 82 T20Is, scoring 42, 3315 and 1896 runs respectively. In ODIs, she is the second highest run-getter, behind Mignon du Preez, and the 17th highest overall. Batting primarily as an opener, she has cracked three centuries and 23 fifties.

In T20Is, she has registered 1 century and 13 fifties. Her batting numbers in the shortest format are the best by a South African woman and 15th highest overall.She also doubled up as a wicketkeeper in 19 ODIs and 20 T20Is.

“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,” Lee said in a statement. “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.

“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,” she concluded.

Enoch Nkwe, Director of Cricket, said, “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.”

Pholetsi Moseki, Cricket South Africa (CSA) Chief Executive Officer, further added, “On behalf of Cricket South Africa (CSA), I’d like to thank Lizelle for her more than eight years of service for the Proteas and wish her all the very best for all her future endeavours, including her ongoing domestic career at home and all around the world.

“Her explosive batting and her all-round talents at the highest level of the game will be sorely missed by all in the international cricketing fraternity and by the South African public. The legacy she has left behind will be felt for many a year yet.”

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