Morkel to retire from international cricket

The Test series at home to Australia will be Morne Morkel's final contribution for South Africa after he announced his impending retirement.

Morne Morkel playing for South Africa   -  Getty Images

South Africa's Morne Morkel has announced his decision to retire from all forms of international cricket after the Test series against Australia.

The 33-year-old has been a mainstay of a dangerous Proteas attack alongside new-ball partner Dale Steyn, having played in 83 Tests since making his five-day debut against India in January 2006.

He has taken 294 Test wickets an average of 28.08, with a best return of 6-23 coming against New Zealand in Wellington in 2012. 

Morkel has also made 117 one-day international and 44 Twenty20 internationals appearances for South Africa.

"It was an extremely tough decision but I feel the time is right to start a new chapter," Morkel told a news conference on Monday.

The fast bowler, who is married to an Australian television presenter, said: "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.

"I have loved every minute that I have played in the Proteas jersey, and I am incredibly grateful to my team-mates, 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 battled a career-threatening back injury in 2016 but had returned to form last year.

Should he be fit and selected, Morkel's final Test appearance will come against Australia in Johannesburg early next month.

He had been linked with a move to an English county team as a potential Kolpak signing, a route followed by fellow bowler Kyle Abbott, who rendered himself ineligible for South Africa duty by joining Hampshire last year.

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