The South African cricket team which was a force to reckon with a few years ago now seems to be on a downward spiral as they have not only lost but they have failed to compete in a lot of matches against the top nations. Most of their experienced players have retired in the last 18-24 months and so the youngsters are taking time to settle down in the team.
South African cricketers have a tendency to announce their retirement early to get a Kolpak deal but there are also some South African cricketers who have retired early without a Kolpak deal. Every player has a different reason and the player knows the best about himself but still, some of these players could have played a bit longer. So, let us have a look at five South African cricketers who retired early from international cricket.
5. Andre Nel
Andre Nel is one of the South African cricketers who retired early from international cricket. He was a fast bowler who represented the Proteas in all three formats. He made his Test debut and ODI debut in 2001 against Zimbabwe and West Indies respectively.
He played close to 80 ODIs and 40 Tests for his country. He was one of those bowlers who troubled batsmen with genuine pace. Andre Nel announced his retirement in 2009 at the age of 32. Even though he was a fast bowler he could have played more but announced his retirement early.
4. Jonty Rhodes
The best fielder in the history of the game – Jonty Rhodes is one of the South African cricketers who retired early from the game. Rhodes is currently in India as the fielding coach of Punjab Kings. Jonty Rhodes
He even played over 50 tests with 3 centuries and 17 half-centuries to his name. Rhodes announced his retirement from Test cricket in 2001 at the age of 32 to prolong his career in the ODI format. He played the 2003 World Cup and got injured in a game while fielding which turned out to be his last game for South Africa.
3. Mark Boucher
Mark Boucher who is famous for his 999 dismissals in his international career had to retire early from international cricket due to an eye injury. The South African wicket-keeper batsman who made his debut in 1997 played over 450 matches for South Africa across formats.
In 2012, Boucher got hit by a ball from a spinner while keeping wickets. The ball hit his eye as he didn’t have a helmet on. He had to undergo surgery but also had to announce his retirement from international cricket. He could have surely played for another couple of years but the injury cut short his career.
2. Graeme Smith
The youngest captain from South Africa is also one of the cricketers to retire early from international cricket. Graeme Smith who started as a captain at the age of 22 is the only player to captain a team in more than 100 Tests.
He played 117 Tests and 197 ODIs for his country as he retired at the age of 33. Smith who had failed to score runs in a couple of series announced his retirement at an early age in 2014. He could have played a bit more at the international level.
1. AB De Villiers
If there were any doubts whether AB De Villiers can still perform at this level, they all have been cleared in the first three games of this IPL. ABD was at his absolute best as he hammered all the bowlers all around the park. De Villiers who is 37 announced a shocking retirement in 2018 just a year before the World Cup.
AB De Villiers has been one of the greatest cricketers of all time and international cricket has missed him since then. He was asked about making a comeback, and he said he might do that so ABD might as well be back in the South African colors later this year.