The world's No.1 allrounder and bowler, Australia's Shelley Nitschke, has announced her retirement from international cricket. Nitschke, 34, will bow out after the quadrangular series final against England in Wormsley, and she will leave at the peak of her game, having won the past three Australian Women's International Player of the Year awards.
Her value to Australia's team cannot be underestimated; as well as being the highest-ranked bowled and allrounder in the world, she is third on the international batting rankings table. A win in the decider against England would be the perfect way to cap off the career of Nitschke, who made her international debut seven years ago.
"There are a couple of highlights that really stand out, those being the 2005 World Cup win in India and the 2010 Twenty20 World Cup victory in the West Indies which were are very memorable experiences and were great to be part of," Nitschke said. "My plan has always been to go out when I was still playing well and on my terms. I'm happy with my career and achievements and the time feels right. I'm certainly not getting any younger.
"I have had a tremendous amount of support throughout my career from friends outside the game, coaches, team-mates, my parents and my partner have always been really supportive and I thank them all for their help and advice along the way. I have thoroughly enjoyed representing my country and cherish every moment that I've had around the team and I wish them all the best.
"I'm now looking forward to getting back into full-time work, perhaps having some time to play other sports as well and having more time to spend with my family and friends."
An opening batsman and left-arm spinner, Nitschke was named the ICC International Women's Cricketer of the Year in 2010. Michael Brown, the acting CEO of Cricket Australia, said Nitschke had been a wonderful ambassador for women's cricket in Australia and would be sorely missed from the national side.
"Shelley Nitschke has been a standout allrounder at world level for quite a few years now and her abilities with both bat and ball have greatly contributed to the success of the Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars," Brown said. "Her service for women's cricket in Australia has been outstanding both as a player and an advocate for the game.
"She has dedicated herself to cricket in the most professional way and her record at international level speaks for itself. She will certainly be sorely missed."
In 79 ODIs prior to the quadrangular final, Nitschke has scored 2032 runs at 34.44 and has taken 97 wickets at 21.88, making her Australia's all-time third leading wicket taker behind Cathryn Fitzpatrick and Lisa Sthalekar. She has also played six Tests and 36 Twenty20 internationals, and is the world's leading T20I wicket-taker and Australia's top run-scorer.