Boeta Dippenaar, the South Africa batsman, has announced his retirement from international cricket to concentrate on building a life beyond the sport.
"Where my cricket career stands now, I have to make the tough call and step away," he told News 24 on Tuesday. "I want to improve my qualifications for life after cricket. Even if I were in the national team now I would have announced my retirement at the end of the season."
Dippenaar, 30, made his debut in 1999 but it took him a further 12 months to register his first hundred. Soon after, he lost his place to Herschelle Gibbs - a batsman of complete contrast to Dippenaar, whose strengths were his sweet timing and orthodox defence.
In spite of a healthy first-class record for Eagles and Free State, amassing nearly 9000 runs at 42.99, he couldn't translate that same form into his international career, though he found some success in one-dayers with 3421 runs and four hundreds.
Captain of the Eagles, who this week won the SuperSport Series title, Dippenaar will also play for Leicestershire in 2008.
"Some people may question my decision but it is something that my wife and I have reached certainty about during the past year," he said. "I am grateful for the opportunities I have had. I am grateful that I was able to represent my country and I wish the national team all the best."
Cricket South Africa (CSA) wished Dippenaar well and hoped he would continue to be a role model for all the younger players in the franchise system.
"CSA wishes Boeta and his family all the best in this new chapter of their lives, and we thank him for his most valued input into South African cricket at all the many levels he graced so well," Gerald Majola, the chief executive, said in a statement.