South African seamer Morne Morkel has announced that he will retire from all international cricket after the series against Australia.
Morkel made his international debut in 2006, and has gone on to play 83 Tests, 117 ODIs, and 44 T20Is for the Proteas. He is just six wickets shy of becoming only the fifth South African to reach the 300-mark, and he will definitely back himself to reach that number against Australia.
We look at five performances that defined the lanky 33-year-old speedster’s career.
Picking up 6-23 against New Zealand in Wellington
The third Test of the 2012 New Zealand tour ended in a draw, which saw South Africa seal a 1-0 series win, but it was Morkel’s innings performance with the ball that stands out. After declaring in both innings, South Africa set the hosts a target of 389 to win on the final day. With the New Zealanders looking to hold on for a draw, Morkel ripped through their entire top and middle order, picking up six wickets for just 23 runs to leave them on 200-6 at the end of play. Had there been more time left in the day, who knows how many more wickets he would have picked up?
Taking 5-38 in an ODI win, also against New Zealand
The 2012 tour to New Zealand was a good one for Morkel as he had picked up five wickets for just 38 runs in a big Proteas win. The series was a pretty one-sided affair. After winning the T20I series 2-1, the Proteas proceeded to hand the Black Caps a whitewash in the 50-over version. With Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Dale Steyn and Jacques Kallis removing the top order, Morkel cleaned up the middle order and the tail on his own, and finished the game with five wickets for 38 runs.
Morkel takes another five as SA demolish Australia in an ODI in Perth
The 2014 tour to Australia wasn’t a happy one for South Africa. But Morkel did have his moment in the spotlight when he took another fiver as the Proteas won the second ODI by three wickets. In what was a low-scoring match, the South African bowlers did well to restrict the hosts to 154 all out in 41.4 overs. Morkel was the Australians’ chief tormentor, picking up 5-21. South Africa reached the target in the 28th over to secure their only ODI win of that tour.
Morkel the all-rounder
Morkel wasn’t known for his abilities with the willow, but he proved in March last year against New Zealand that he could be decent with wood in hand. The South African lower order was labouring in Wellington against New Zealand as they were replying to the hosts’ first innings score of 268. South Africa were 302-9 when it looked like the Black Caps would easily pick up the wickets, but No 11 Morkel ensured that the Proteas didn’t fall too far behind. Morkel played an impressive knock of 40 runs off 63 balls as he and Vernon Philander put on 57 for the final wicket to help South Africa reach 359 all out. He was handy with the ball as well, picking up two in the first innings, and three in the second as the Proteas won the game by eight wickets.
Impressive on Test debut
When Morkel made his debut against India in Durban in 2006, Andre Nel, Makhaya Ntini, and Shaun Pollock were the main men in the South African bowling attack. But Morkel impressed, nonetheless. His first Test scalp was MS Dhoni, who fell victim to a full-length outside off-stump delivery that he nicked to AB de Villiers in the slips. He picked up a further two wickets in the game, and 58 runs in both innings as South Africa won the game by 174 runs.
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