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Lizelle Lee, the hard-hitting South Africa opening batter, has announced her retirement from international cricket with immediate effect. In a statement shared by CSA, she said she would continue to play domestic T20 cricket around the world.
"It is with a lot of mixed emotions that I announce my retirement from international cricket," Lee, 30, said on Friday. "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."
Lee's announcement came ahead of South Africa's ODI series in England starting next week. South Africa drew the one-off Test ahead of the white-ball series, where Lee returned scores of 0 and 36.
She made her international debut against Bangladesh at home in 2013, and went on to play exactly 100 ODIs - the last of which was against England in the World Cup semi-final earlier this year. She also played 82 T20Is in addition to two Tests. Lee scored her ODI best score - an unbeaten 132 - which was her third century in the format, against India in Lucknow last year when South Africa won the series 4-1.
"It has been an incredible journey, and it would not have been possible without everyone who has supported me during my international career," Lee said. "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."
Laura Wolvaardt and Lizelle Lee formed a fantastic opening pair for South Africa•BCCI/UPCA
During the T20 World Cup in Australia in 2020, Lee became the second from her country to score a century in women's T20Is [Shandre Fritz was the first], and the first to do so in the global event. She retired as the leading run-scorer among South African women in T20Is with 1896 runs, and second-highest from her country in ODIs with 3315 runs.
"It is with great sadness that we have to bid farewell to a titan of South African cricket at a relatively young age," Enoch Nkwe, CSA director of cricket, said. "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."
Lee is the second high-profile South Africa player to call it quits following the World Cup after Mignon du Preez also hung up her boots from ODIs and Tests.
Lee will play for Manchester Originals in The Hundred this season as her next assignment, having also represented them in the inaugural season in 2021.