Johannesburg: Veteran South African pacer Morne Morkel is all set to hang up his boots from international cricket after the upcoming series against Australia. The lanky paceman has played 83 Tests, 117 ODIs and 44 T20Is in an 12-year career that began in 2006 against India in Durban.
The 33-year-old made the decision to call it a day owing to his tough international schedule.
“It was an extremely tough decision but I feel the time is right to start a new chapter. I have a young family and a foreign wife, and the current demanding international schedule has put a lot of strain on us. I have to put them first and this decision will only benefit us going forward.
“I have loved every minute that I have played in the Proteas jersey, and I am incredibly grateful to my team mates, Cricket South Africa, and my family and friends for the support over the years. I still feel there is a lot of cricket left in me and I am excited for what lies ahead. For now, all of my energy and focus is on helping the Proteas win the upcoming series against Australia,” he said.
Morkel played all the three Tests against India earlier this year where he took 13 wickets with an average of 20. He also played five out of the six ODIs against India where he scalped just two wickets. He was originally set to be rested for the fifth ODI in Port Elizabeth but a back injury to Chris Morris meant that he made his way into the playing XI.
The veteran pacer, with 529 international wickets would have a chance to add to his tally during the home series against Australia when the first Test begins on March 1 in Durban.
Thabang Moroe, Cricket South Africa’s acting CE had words of praise for Morkel’s contribution to South African cricket.
“On Behalf of Cricket South Africa, I would like to thank Morne for the tremendous and highly valued contribution he has made to South African cricket over the past decade.
“He has been a regular selection for both the Test and ODI squads since 2008, having made his debut as far back as 2006. He has formed part of the golden era of fast bowlers that have made the South African Test team a champion outfit that is respected throughout the world.
With a total of 294 Test wickets and seven five-wicket hauls, Morkel currently is the fifth highest wicket-taker for South Africa in the longest format of the game.