JOHANNESBURG: Momentum Proteas batter, Lizelle Lee has announced her retirement from all forms of international cricket with immediate effect. This news comes ahead of the Proteas Women’s three-match One-Day International (ODI) series against England, getting underway from Monday, 11 July in Northampton.
The 30-year-old made her international bow for South Africa in 2013 during the inbound tour against Bangladesh, debuting in T20 International (T20I) cricket at her home ground in Potchefstroom before receiving her first cap in One-Day International (ODI) cricket a week later.
In the 50-over game, the opening batter amassed 3 315 runs in 100 matches, including 23 half-centuries and three centuries with a career-best score of 132 not out against India in Lucknow in March last year. In the shorter format, Lee played 82 games for the green and gold, recording 1 896 runs, while notching up 13 fifties and one hundred against Thailand in 2020, which made her only the second South African woman to reach triple figures in T20Is.
The Senwes Dragons star leaves the international stage in first place on the runs-scorer’s list in T20I cricket for South Africa, while she only comes second to the recently retired Mignon du Preez in the One-Day format.
Lee’s statement is as follows:
“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.
“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.
Director of Cricket, Enoch Nkwe commented:
“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,” he added.
Pholetsi Moseki, Cricket South Africa (CSA) Chief Executive Officer said:
“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,” Moseki concluded.