Despite being offered a national contract for the 2023/24 season and being announced by Cricket South Africa (CSA), Ismail did not accept and has chosen to end her South Africa career with immediate effect in order to prioritise her family. In a statement, issued by CSA, Ismail said she finds herself “wanting to spend more time with my family, particularly my siblings and parents as they get older. I really believe that reducing the amount of cricket I play will enable me to do this, and playing in global leagues is the only way I see to be able to fit in both family and cricket.”
Her retirement comes at a time when the women’s game is seeing an increase in T20 franchise leagues and more opportunities for players to earn money as freelancers, rather than rely on a national contract.
“As I look back on my international career, I am so grateful for all the opportunities and experiences I have had,” Ismail’s statement read. “I have loved being able to compete at the highest level and I am so proud of being able to be part of a wonderful group of players who have led the way for women in cricket. The memories I have will stay with me forever.”
Ismail’s retirement comes at a time of transition for South Africa’s women’s team.
“This is a poignant but celebratory moment for South African cricket and the global game as a whole, as we celebrate and honour an incredible cricketer in Shabnim Ismail,” Enoch Nkwe, CSA’s Director of Cricket said. “Shabnim has transcended women’s cricket as a fierce competitor with the ability of making any batter uncomfortable at the crease with her rapid pace that regularly surpassed 120kph throughout her career. She will be sorely missed by the team and all South African cricket fans as she continues to inspire the next generation of cricketers during her remaining domestic career in all parts of the globe.”