Proteas bowler Morne Morkel has announced he will retire from all international cricket at the end of the Test series against Australia, which begins in Durban on Thursday.
Morkel, a veteran of 83 Tests said: ‘It was an extremely tough decision but I feel the time is right to start a new chapter.
‘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,’ said Morkel.
‘I have loved every minute that I have played in the Proteas jersey, and I am incredibly grateful to my teammates, 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.’
It was only in October last year that Morkel committed himself to the Proteas all the way to the 2019 World Cup.
There was speculation at the time that Morkel was seeking assurances about being part of the Proteas’ plans for the World Cup and had offers from various teams in England to take up a Kolpak deal.
Morkel had acknowledged on a few occasions that his time with the Proteas was drawing to a close.
Prior to the Bangladesh Test series, he even reportedly admitted that he would consider taking a Kolpak deal if coach Ottis Gibson did not select him.
But Gibson felt differently about the situation at the time.
‘Morne is pretty committed to the Proteas over the next couple of years,’ Gibson said, as quoted by Cricinfo.
‘Obviously, the World Cup is a big thing. He is well aware that there can be no guarantees with regards to that. When it comes to 2019, it will be form, fitness, conditions – that sort of thing.
‘We had a good, honest discussion and he has committed his future to us over the next couple of years.’
Kent and Warwickshire are two clubs reportedly interested in signing Morkel on a Kolpak deal.
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