South African pacer Morne Morkel has shockingly announced that the upcoming Australia series will be his last international assignment as he plans to hang up his boots thereafter. Making his debut back in 2006 in the Boxing Day Test against India, Morkel has played 83 Test matches for SA.
Despite being one of South Africa’s most devastating pace bowlers in the last decade with his ability to extract bounce and pace in any pitch, Morkel's repetitive injuries always kept him in and out of the team, throughout his career. Knowing that his body isn't allowing him to give 100 percent anymore, the 33-year-old has decided to call it a day.
"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,” Morkel said while announcing his decision, reported Cricbuzz.
"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 was a part of the recently concluded Test and ODI series against India, where he played all the three Tests and five of the six ODIs. However, while the lethal bowler was abke to take 13 wickets at an average of 20 in the longest format, he was clearly struggling in the ODI series where he could secure only two wickets from five games at an average of 103.
Cricket South Africa's acting CEO, Thabang Moroe, has heaped praised on Morkel's commitment and immense contribution towards the development of 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.
"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," Moroe said.
The 33-year-old has played 83 Tests, 117 ODIs, and 44 T20Is in an international career that spanned over 12 years.
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