South Africa captain Graeme Smith has expressed his surprise over the decision taken by Boeta Dippenaar to retire from the international game.
With his Cricket South Africa contract expiring in April, the batsman announced his retirement from international cricket on Wednesday.
He will, however, continue playing domestic cricket in his homeland and will also be available for Leicestershire in the County Championship as an overseas player.
Speaking on Thursday, Smith said: "It came as a bit of a surprise, but Boeta's always looked at the other parts of his life. He studied for a law degree and he's been chirping me about his helicopter pilot's licence for quite a while.
"Boeta's a model man and a model cricketer. I have nothing but respect for him as a man and I wish him all the best."
Dippenaar made his Test debut against India in 1999 and played his first ODI against Zimbabwe the same year.
In 38 Tests, he scored 1,718 runs at an average of 30.14 and played 107 ODIs for a batting average of 42.23.
CSA chief executive Gerald Majola said in a statement issued on Thursday: "Boeta has written a letter which we have now received outlining his reasons for retiring from international cricket from the end of this season.
"He and his family want to start expanding their lives outside of cricket at this stage and we respect this.
"However, we regret that he will be out of the international arena next season as he is a talented cricketer who always gave his all for the team.
"Thankfully Boeta will not be completely lost to South African cricket because he will continue playing for the Gestetner Diamond Eagles.
"In this way, he will continue to be a role model for all the younger players in the franchise system.
"CSA wishes Boeta and his family all the best in this new chapter of their lives, and we thank him for his most valued input into South African cricket at all the many levels he graced so well".