South African pacer Morne Morkel has decided to bid adieu to international cricket after the completion of the upcoming Test series against Australia. The 33-year-old announced on Monday that he will retire from international cricket but keep on playing in other leagues around the world.
He quoted his family as the reason for his decision as the busy international schedule doesn’t allow him to spend time with his young family. The fast bowler mentioned that playing for South Africa is special but at this stage, he has to put his family first.
“It was an extremely tough decision but I feel the time is right to start a new chapter,” Morkel said as quoted by Cricbuzz. “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.”
“Playing for the Proteas is something very special. But family comes first. My wife and my family was away for 10 weeks now for work commitments, which was very tricky for me. After sitting them down, and discussing it with family, we decided – I decided – it’s better for me to start a chapter with them and focus more on family.”
A few months ago, there were speculations about Morne Morkel considering a Kolpak deal to leave South African cricket as his future was uncertain in the team. Although he got assurance from the coach Ottis Gibson about his place in the ICC World Cup 2019, he opted to hang up his boots. It will now be interesting to see what level of cricket he elects to play after leaving the South African colors.
“I still feel great mentally and physically, and yes, I will be playing in other leagues around the world,” he said. “Out of respect to CSA I have not put pen to paper on any deal. My focus is 100% on winning this series (against Australia). I’ll make a decision once everything is done.”
Morne Morkel has represented the Proteas in 83 Tests and bagged 294 wickets. To go with that, he has claimed 188 wickets in 117 ODIs and 47 wickets in 44 T20Is. He has been a part of the pace battery that made South Africa a superpower in the longest format of the game.
In the recent Test series win against India, he played a key role and showed that there is enough cricket left in him. But the country also possesses a fresh crop of fast bowlers like Lungi Ngidi who are ready to fill in for Morkel and the veteran pacer is hopeful that the youngsters will take the legacy forward.