Ireland off-spinner Albert van der Merwe has announced his retirement from international cricket.

The 33-year-old YMCA bowler won 21 caps following his debut against West Indies A in June 2010, taking 40 wickets at 22.55 with his outstanding performances saved for the Intercontinental Cup.

Indeed his match figures of 11-68 in the first-class competition against Kenya last year in Mombasa were the best by an Irish bowler since the late Dermott Monteith took 12-95 against Scotland in 1973.

Van der Merwe also enjoyed success in the limited overs format, taking 5-49 against Canada in Toronto in 2010 - one of four times that he took five wickets or more in an innings for Ireland.

The South African born bowler said: "Retiring has been a difficult decision to make as I feel I still have plenty to offer, but the increased demands as the team became more professional made it very difficult for a part-timer like myself."

"The standard the squad have set for ourselves is very high" - Albert van der Merwe

He added: "The standard the squad have set for ourselves is very high and I felt that ultimately my work and cricket would suffer as it's impossible to commit to either 100 per cent."

Van der Merwe has fond memories of his time in the Irish set-up.

He said: "It has been an unbelievable privilege to pull on the Irish shirt, being part of a special bunch of lads over the last two and a half years.

"It's been an honour to play alongside guys who will undoubtedly go down as legends of Irish cricket - being part of some memorable moments along the way is something I'll always treasure.

"It has been said so many times, but the pride in representing Ireland and the commitment towards each other is what defines this team from any sports team I've been part of, and that will stay with me.

"I've enjoyed every moment and it's good to look back and be able to say that I did put my hand up in a few games, doing the job I was picked to do.

"I've learned a lot along the way, working with top coaches in different parts of the world and it is great to be able to pass some of that on to younger players. I wish the lads all the best with a big year coming up and some crucial qualification games."