South African fast bowler Morne Morkel has announced that the upcoming series against Australia will be his last in international cricket. The 33-year-old fast bowler has played 83 Tests, 117 ODIs and 44 T20Is for the Proteas in an international career that began at the Boxing Day Test against India in 2006.
Morne Morkel reasoned his decision to retire as the one which was taken in mind the hectic international schedule and also his family which missed him increasingly over the years. "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 on us. I have to put them first and this decision will only benefit us going forward" Morkel was quoted as saying.
"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." Morkel said recalling his playing days.
Morkel played each of the three Tests and five of the six ODIs in the just-concluded series against India, taking 13 wickets at 20.00 in the Tests. In the upcoming series against the Aussies, Morkel will get his very last opportunity to add to his international tally of 529 wickets as and when the series gets underway.
Cricket South Africa Acting CEO, Thabang Moroe, praised Morkel's commitment and contribution towards South African cricket: "On Behalf of Cricket South Africa, I would like to thank Morne for the tremendous and highly valued contribution he has made to South African cricket over the past decade".
"He has been a regular selection for both the Test and ODI squads since 2008, having made his debut as far back as 2006. He has formed part of the golden era of fast bowlers that have made the South African Test team a champion outfit that is respected throughout the world."
The CSA CEO further added "Being a champion fast bowler is one of the most difficult professions in the sporting world. It requires tremendous skill, dedication and perseverance and, by no means the least, the courage to bowl through the pain barrier at times. Those are characteristics Morne has shown throughout his career".
"Lastly, on behalf of the South African cricket family, our stakeholders and fans around the world, we thank Morne for being both a fine player and an outstanding role model who has made our country proud. We wish him everything of the best in his future endeavours" The CSA CEO concluded saying.