• Morkel: I’m fit enough for international stage

    Former South Africa bowler Morne Morkel says he is still fit enough to play international cricket but believes he made the right choice to retire and play in England. 

    The 33-year-old signed a two-year deal with Surrey after retiring in his final Test for the Proteas against Australia at the end of March.

    He ended on a high taking 15 wickets in three Tests against the Aussies and despite being fit enough to continue for the Proteas he picked England as his next destination.

    ‘I could have still played international cricket for another three or four years if I wanted to,’ he told BBC Radio.

    ‘For me, first-class cricket in England is of the highest quality.

    ‘You have very strong local players, international guys and overseas players and it is very competitive.

    ‘For me, it is important to play a high standard of cricket. I still feel mentally and physically fit to play white-ball and red-ball cricket.’

    A side injury delayed Morkel’s start to his Surrey career, but he is set to play his first senior game in the One-Day Cup against Kent on Friday. He has played two matches for the Surrey second team and his first scheduled First XI match, against Sussex, was washed out.

    Morkel put his family first when he called it quits, after 309 Test wickets, putting him fifth on South Africa’s all-time list of Test wicket-takers.

    ‘I have a young family and my wife is Australian and we needed a neutral base to set up some roots,’ he said.

    ‘When you play in London you can get away from the game and sometimes I need to clear my mind.

    ‘You can go and see a show – I’ve seen the Phantom of the Opera three times – and there are fantastic restaurants and beautiful parks.

    ‘It is easy to travel from London as it is central, and to go to anywhere in the world is very easy. At this stage in my life, it fits in beautifully.’

    Morkel is impressed with the youngsters in the Surrey squad signaling out a few of the talents in the side.

    ‘Sam Curran is a typical 19-year-old who plays with no fear and doesn’t over-think the game,’ he said.

    ‘Will Jacks is a fantastic player and reminds me a bit of a mix between Jason Roy and Kevin Pietersen – a very aggressive sort of batsman.

    ‘I predict a great future for him and Ollie Pope has impressed me a hell of a lot.

    ‘The way the guys have been training over the past couple of weeks, it is a trophy-winning side.

    ‘It is just a matter of guys staying fit, us going to the back end of the competition and still being mentally fresh to go on and win a trophy.’

    Photo: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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