Former South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel has signed with Big Bash League side Brisbane Heat as a local player after gaining permanent residency in Australia. Morkel will be available for the entire upcoming season that is slated to get underway from December 10.

Morkel recently ended his three-year stint with English county club Surrey saying the time has come for a new chapter.

The 36-year-old retired from international cricket in 2018 after taking 309 wickets in 86 Tests for South Africa. In 117 ODIs, he took 188 wickets while in 44 T20Is, he has 47 wickets to his name.

“I am still enjoying my cricket enormously and the chance to be part of the Heat squad is something I am keen to experience,” Morkel said. “I admit it will be a bit unusual to call myself a local, but we are enjoying living and working here and this is another aspect of our lives that I am looking forward to being a part of.”

Morekl also played franchise cricket in IPL where he represented the likes of Delhi Daredevils, Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders.

Brisbane head coach Darren Lehmann is looking forward to working with Morkel.

“I saw a line from Dan Christian the other day that ‘old blokes win stuff’ and while I am in no way putting Morne in the ‘old’ category like ‘Christo’ certainly is, we believe his experience with bowling in different conditions is invaluable and will be beneficial to the squad,” Lehmann said.

“Anyone who has played or coached with him or against him will happily attest that he is a champion person. On the international front, I consider his best bowling efforts came as he got older. His control and skill with the ball were his trademarks so it will be great to introduce him into our group,” he added.

Meanwhile, England batsman Sam Billings has penned a deal with Sydney Thunder.