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Last Updated:  Saturday, 8 March, 2003, 17:32 GMT
Right time to go
Allan Donald
By Allan Donald
Former South Africa fast bowler

I felt a little nervous as I went to the media conference on Saturday morning to announce my international retirement but now I just feel relaxed - satisfied at a job well done.

I know that I have always given 110% in every game of cricket - whether for South Africa, my province Free State or Warwickshire - and I can feel happy looking back on it.

To be honest, there was not a massive decision to be made, although my wife asked me in the morning whether I was sure I had made the right choice.

There was a possibility that I would be part of the touring squad in England later this year and maybe play in one or two Tests.

But I have always been someone who sets himself goals and I could not see any more long-term goals as a player.

World Cups are emotional times but I am sure this is the right one.

I was annoyed to read my inclusion in the squad was a sentimental gesture

Regrets? Very few, but all World Cups. None of the four I played in worked out, but I still have some wonderful memories.

I do not regret carrying on for a fourth World Cup, and I was annoyed to read this week that my inclusion was a "sentimental gesture".

I played the whole of this season and felt a billion dollars throughout.

For some reason I was just out of form when it counted but it certainly was not a World Cup too far.

Oddly, I think my career high-point in one-day internationals was in a match that turned into another World Cup nightmare - the 1999 semi-final.

I took four for 25 against a tremendous Australia side, at my second cricketing home Edgbaston, and walked off the field very proud with my performance, saying if we could not win from there we did not deserve to.

It turned into a horror movie, just like the other night in Durban against Sri Lanka, but you just have to accept things are not meant to be and move on.

As one era finishes another begins, and I am looking forward to doing my bit off the field.

I believe South African cricket is nowhere near the level it should be and there has been a decline in the last three or four years.

My work starts with the Under-19 team touring England in June, acting as a technical advisor to talk the players through the pitches and conditions they can expect and the way the game is played over there.

There will be no more county cricket but I have committed to captain Free State for another two years.

Hopefully alongside coach Corrie van Zyl - the South Africa bowling coach - I can lift us back to the kind of success we enjoyed under Hansie Cronje.

And there are also plans - still at an early stage - to start a cricketing school of excellence bearing my name in my hometown of Bloemfontein and later across the country.

I will have to fit all that around my television work, which begins almost immediately after the World Cup.

And hopefully I will get a chance to enjoy the things I have missed over the last few years, especially spending some time with my family.

I have always set goals and I will not stop just because I am hanging up my international bowling boots.




SEE ALSO
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Time to make amends
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