South Africa's Dale Steyn lets out a victory after dismissing Australia's Michael Clarke in a 2014 Test series. Image Credit: AP

Johannesburg: Dale Steyn, the highest wicket-taker in Test cricket for South Africa, has retired from all forms of cricket.

“Today I officially retire from the game I love the most. Bitter sweet but grateful,” said Steyn in a note on his Twitter handle.

The right-arm pace bowler, known as the greatest and best fast bowler in the past 20 years alongside James Anderson, played 93 Tests for the Proteas and picked up 439 wickets with 26 five-wicket hauls.

He also played 125 ODIs and 47 T20Is taking 196 and 64 wickets in the two formats respectively. At his peak, he formed a deadly combination with Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.

“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,” he added in his note.

“So I left it to experts to sum up, my favourite band, the Counting Crows,” he wrote while putting out American band Counting Crows’ lyrics in his farewell note.

“And it’s been a long December and there’s reason to believe; Maybe this year will be better than the last; I can’t remember all the times I tried to tell myself; To hold on to these moments as they pass,” he quoted lyrics from the song ‘A Long December’.

He also thanked everyone for his career.

“Thank you to everyone, from family to teammates, journalists to fans, it’s been an incredible journey together,” he added.

Out of 439 Test wickets, 103 came against India and 108 against Pakistan. He also took 96 wickets against Australia and 92 against England.

Steyn was a master of reverse swing and could make the ball swerve in the air, a quality no other bowler had.

His best innings spell of 7/51 came against India at Nagpur in 2010 in a Test that the Proteas won and in which Hashim Amla scored a big double century. He had also taken a five-fer in the second Test at Ahmedabad in 2008 helping Proteas shoot out India for 76. AB de Villiers scored a double ton in that.

Among bowlers with 200 Test wickets or more, he has the second best strike rate (42.3) behind teammate Kagiso Rabada (41.2). Among bowlers with at least 300 Test wickets, he has the best career strike rate and ranks just ahead of ex-Pakistan speedster Waqar Younis (43.4).