South African Dale Steyn, one of the great fast bowlers of the modern era, on Monday announced his retirement from Test cricket with immediate effect in a bid to extend his longevity in the shorter formats of the game.

Steyn, who made his international debut against England in 2004 and last played a Test in February against Sri Lanka, is still contracted in the white-ball form of the game for the 2019-20 season and therefore remains available for South Africa in one-day internationals and T20s.

"Today I walk away from a format of the game I love so much," said the 36-year-old Steyn, his country's leading Test wicket-taker of all time and one of the top 10 in the history of the game.

"In my opinion, Test cricket is the best version of this game. It tests you mentally, physically, emotionally. It's terrible to consider never playing another Test again but what's more terrifying is the thought of never playing again at all.

"So I will be focusing on ODIs and T20s for the rest of my career to maximise my full potential and ensure my longevity in this sport. I look forward to continuing to play for the Proteas in the shorter formats."

Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief executive Thabang Moroe hailed Steyn as "undoubtedly one of the all-time greats of cricket".

"He has been one of the standout fast bowlers in world cricket. He has led the South African attack brilliantly and has set the standard for our future generations to follow," said a "saddened" Moroe.

"More than that he has been a wonderful mentor to our next generation of speedsters."

Feature Image Courtesy: AFP/ Anesh Debiky