Proteas speedster Morne Morkel to retire after Australia series

The South African fast bowler says he has enjoyed every single minute of representing his country in the past 12 years.

South Africa paceman Morne Morkel. Picture: Twitter/@OfficialCSA

JOHANNESBURG- South African fast bowler Morne Morkel has announced his retirement from International cricket after the home series against Australia, starting on Thursday in Durban.

The 33-year-old made his debut for South Africa in a Test match against India on 26 December 2006 at Kingsmead in Durban, where South Africa won by 174 runs. The lanky fast bowler from Vereeniging has played 83 Tests, 117 One-Day Internationals and 44 T20 Internationals in a successful career spanning 12 years.

He has taken 294 Test wickets - including seven five-fors - and is currently the fifth highest all-time wicket-taker for South Africa in Test matches. He has an impressive tally of 529 wickets across the three formats.

Morkel’s final swan-song in a South African shirt will be the four-match Test series against the Australians, where he will be looking to go past the 300-wicket mark in his career.

He says he has enjoyed every single minute of representing his country in the past 12 years.

“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 explained his decision to retire, saying the demanding international schedule has put a lot of strain on him and his family.

“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 must put them first and this decision will only benefit us going forward”

The first Test match against Australia gets underway on Thursday at the Kingsmead Stadium in Durban.