South African pacer Dale Steyn announced his retirement from all forms of cricket on Tuesday to bring an end to his illustrious career that spanned over 17 years. He had already retired from Test cricket in 2019 to prolong his career in the limited-overs format.

Steyn first announced himself on the international stage as a young 21-year-old prodigy during England’s Test tour of South Africa in 2004. A year later, he made his ODI debut for Africa XI against Asia XI at Centurion. 

The veteran pacer took to Twitter to announce his decision, summing up his journey as a bitter sweet affair. 

"It's been 20 years of training, matches, travel, wins, losses, strapped feet, jet lag, joy, and brotherhood. There are too many memories to tell. Too many faces to thank," Steyn wrote, quoting lines from rock band Counting Crows' song A Long December. 

"Today I officially retire from the game I love the most. Bitter sweet but grateful.

"Thank you to everyone, from family to teammates, journalists to fans, it's been an incredible journey together."

Steyn played 93 Test matches for South Africa and is the fastest bowler to reach 400 Test wickets (80 matches). He retired with 439 wickets in the longest format. Since making his limited-overs debut in 2005, Steyn would go on to play 125 ODIs and 47 T20I, picking 196 and 64 wickets respectively.

Steyn was a constant fixture in franchise cricket as well, representing the likes of Team Deccan, Team Bangalore, Team Hyderabad and Gujarat in the Indian T20 League. 

He also played for Brisbane Heat, Jamaica Tallawahs, Cape Town Knight Riders, Cape Town Blitz, Glasgow Giants, Melbourne Stars, Islamabad United, Kandy Tuskers and Quetta Gladiators.

In January 2021, he made himself unavailable for Team Bangalore for Indian T20 League 2021 but said that he wasn’t retiring. In March, he went on to play in the Pakistan Super League.

The pacer was in and out of the game in the latter years of his career owing to constant injuries. He also missed the 2019 Cricket World Cup and his most recent cricketing involvement came for the Quetta Gladiators against Multan Sultans at the PSL in March.

Featured photo: AFP / William West