'I will cherish memories of playing for South Africa' December 12, 2006

Boje retires from international cricket

Cricinfo staff

Nicky Boje will not be playing the home Tests against India as he has decided to retire from international cricket to concentrate on his flourishing domestic career © Getty Images

Nicky Boje, the South African left-arm spinner, has decided to retire from international cricket, two days before the start of the first Test against India, to concentrate on his domestic career.

"I have decided to retire from international cricket immediately" said Boje, "and I am accordingly unavailable to form part of the Proteas squad for this season. I have had eleven years of international cricket and will always cherish wonderful memories of playing for South Africa.

"I now feel that the time has come for me to devote the remainder of my playing years to Eagles cricket. I wish my former team mates in the Proteas side the very best for the future and I'm confident that the team has a very bright cricketing future".

Captaining the Eagles in South African domestic cricket, Boje leads the bowling statistics with 17 wickets from the three matches his side have played this season. He is well-placed in the batting list too with 272 runs at 54.40.

After the match-fixing scandal broke out in 2000 Boje was wanted by the Indian police for questioning and he, along with Herschelle Gibbs, had opted out of tours to India in the past few seasons. This year though the two players agreed to come to India for the Champions Trophy and to submit themselves to questioning by the police. But the South African selectors didn't pick Boje for the tournament. He last played an ODI in October 2005 against New Zealand.

In 43 Tests for South Africa, Boje took 100 wickets at 42.65 and in 115 ODIs 96 wickets at 35.57. His announcement - through the South African Cricketers' Association - came as a shock to selection convenor Haroon Lorgat and coach Mickey Arthur. Lorgat said it was the first he had heard of the left-arm orthodox spinner's decision. Arthur also said he had not been contacted by the player.

Though Boje is part of the 15-man squad for the three Tests against India, the selectors also picked Paul Adams and there was speculation that prefering Adams as first-choice spinner had prompted Boje's decision. But Lorgat clarified that picking Adams was not to create the impression that Boje would play second fiddle to him. "It was to send a signal to all our spin bowlers that we are searching for a quality spinner," Lorgat told AFP. Boje last played against Sri Lanka at Colombo in August this year.

Lorgat said that there would be no replacement for the first Test at Johannesburg, adding, "he selectors will meet after the first Castle Test match and SuperSport Series games to discuss a possible replacement."