Former South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel has backed Surrey teammate Rory Burns to graduate to the England Test squad.
Morkel, who retired from international cricket earlier this year, spent a triumphant County Championship campaign alongside Burns.
The veteran right-armer snared 50 wickets in eight Division One appearances, while the left-handed Burns gathered 1241 runs across 19 innings.
Burns topped the 2018 Division One run-scoring ranks, with an average of 68.94 – and is among the contenders to replace the recently-retired Alastair Cook at the top of the Test order for the tour of Sri Lanka later this year.
‘Rory has been knocking on the door for a few seasons, scoring 1000 runs per season,’ Morkel was quoted as saying by the Evening Standard.
‘I have kept a close eye on Rory, and he’s always there at 8am working on his game. He should be going to Sri Lanka. It will be tough, but you need to start somewhere and he has the credentials.
‘He plays the ball late, when he scores centuries they are big centuries and he leads from the front, which is what you want in Test cricket.’
The 33-year-old Morkel effectively echoed former England captain Kevin Pietersen’s sentiment.
Pietersen also backed Burns to replace Cook – and limited-overs opener Jason Roy to be selected ahead of the South African-born Keaton Jennings.
‘I like Jason. He has got oomph, he has got guts, he has got runs at the top of the order. I would be all for Roy at the top of the order with Rory,’ Pietersen told talkSPORT.
‘Jennings cant bat, I’m sorry.’