Morne Morkel is the fifth highest wicket-taker for South Africa in Tests    Getty Images
Morne Morkel is the fifth highest wicket-taker for South Africa in Tests Getty Images

Morne Morkel, 33, announced that the Test series between South Africa and Australia will be his last international assignment. Morkel has taken 294 Test wickets and his tally across all formats is 529.

“I have a young family and a foreign wife, and the current demanding international schedule has put a lot of strain 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, Morkel said at the press conference.

However, in August 2017, there were reports that the lanky bowler was being targeted by county sides in order to ink Kolpak deals and Morkel was understood to be considering the options.

Allan Donald had urged the pacer to continue playing for South Africa. Due to the racial quota system, South Africa lost David Wiese, Kyle Abbott, Rilee Rossouw, Colin Ingram, Stiaan van Zyl, Simon Harmer, Dane Vilas and Hardus Viljoen to Kolpak deals.

What father Morkel had said…

Last month, during the Test series against India, Morkel’s father, Albert told Mumbai Mirror, “He is 33 and can t wait too long. There have been developments in which there is no guarantee that his place is assured in the South African XI. In the absence of any such assurances, he would leave for England. Three major counties have offered him deals.

Morne Morkel to retire from international cricket after South Africa-Australia Tests
Morne Morkel to retire from international cricket after South Africa-Australia Tests

“Look there are players like Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn in the fray. Now they have brought in young Lungi Ngidi into the Test squad. He has to secure his future.

Albert also expressed his disappointment on how his elder son Albie (not the eldest) has been continuously overlooked by the selectors due to the quota policy. He even went to the extent of saying, Look if the Titans play their best XI, they will win the World Cup. Faf du Plessis, Dale Steyn, AB de Villiers, Morkel, Dean Elgar and the team is led by Albie. But the as per the quota system here, six coloured players have to be part of the XI. Sometimes, Faf will not find a place in his franchise team although he is the captain of the national team.

He had mentioned that Morne would look for options after the third Test against India at the Wanderers.

Morkel is the fifth highest wicket-taker in Tests and if he too goes the Kolpak way, this probably will be the biggest blow to South African cricket.