PRETORIA, Dec 23 (Reuters) - South Africa seamer Vernon Philander has announced he will retire from all forms of international cricket after the four-match test series against England starting on Thursday.
Philander, 34, was part of the South African side who reached the number one position in all three formats in 2012 and has been the mainstay of the test attack since he burst onto the scene in 2011.
“I feel that it is the appropriate time to conclude what has been an amazing journey,” Philander said in a statement on Monday.
“It has been a honour and privilege to have played alongside the very best in the game as well as being part of the best test team for a number of years.
“My entire focus and energy at this time is to help the Proteas beat England which I am really looking forward to.”
Philander made his debut against Australia at Newlands and took 5 for 15 as the tourists were bowled out for 47 in their second innings.
He claimed a record 51 wickets in his first seven tests, was named South African Cricketer of the Year in 2012 and has taken 216 wickets at an average of 22.16 in his 60 matches.
“Vernon has been an outstanding performer in the time that he has represented his country, especially in the test format,” said his former captain Graeme Smith, who is now South Africa’s acting director of cricket.
“He has made a huge impact for the Proteas and has been at the frontline with the ball for most of his time in the set-up. He has given his best in every appearance and I think that how he has turned himself into an all-rounder has been particularly pleasing to watch.
“One of the many things that have stood out for me with Vern is his character, his determination and the way that he has always been up for a fight and a challenge has shown the heart of the man.”
Philander reached number two in the world test bowling rankings in 2013.
He has taken 22 wickets in six tests against England at an average of 23.54 and averages 36.50 with the bat. (Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond)