(CNN) -- Andre Nel has announced his decision to retire from international cricket with immediate effect.
Nel will continue his career with English county Surrey after quitting the South African Test side.
The South Africa fast bowler last played for his country during the tour to England in 2008, and leaves the national set-up after eight years having made his debut against Zimbabwe in 2001.
"It is with a heavy heart that I announce my immediate retirement from international cricket," said Nel in a statement.
"Playing for my country for the last eight years was a dream come true for me. I would like to thank my captain, Graeme Smith, and my coaches, Mickey Arthur and Vinnie Barnes, and all my Proteas' team-mates for their support and guidance.
"I have many happy memories and wish the Proteas the best for the future. I would also like to thank Cricket South Africa and Gerald Majola for the support I have been given.
"To the fans who have supported me, you have made playing at the highest level something very special for me. I am sorry I did not have the chance to say farewell from the field.
"Last, but not least, a special thanks to my two biggest mentors, Ray Jennings and Shaun Pollock. Without your advice and influence I would not have made it as far as I did."
The 31-year-old, who was renowned for his aggressive style, played 36 Test matches for the Proteas taking 123 wickets. His one-day record saw him claim 106 wickets in 79 games.
Cricket South Africa chief executive Majola and national coach Mickey Arthur both paid tribute to Nel. Majola told PA Sport: "He has been a good servant to South African cricket and I wish him all the best."
Arthur added: "He is a very passionate player who always gave 110 per cent for his country. I wish him all the best for the future."
Despite quitting the Test scene, Nel will continue to play domestic cricket after signing a three-year contract with English county side Surrey.