Morne Morkel to retire after Test series against Australia

This fast bowler has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.

Morne Morkel has made the big decision and announcement.   -  Getty Images

The four-match Test series starting March 1 against Australia will be Morne Morkel's last in international cricket. The 6'5" fast bowler announced that he will retire from all forms of the sport in a press conference two days ahead of the titanic Test series.

Morkel has 294 Test wickets to his name from 83 Tests and is likely to become the fifth South African bowler, after Shaun Pollock (421), Dale Steyn (419), Makhaya Ntini (390), and Allan Donald (330), to take 300 wickets in the longest format. This may provide a fitting end to his career but his retirement will nonetheless be a big loss for South Africa.

Only in March 2017, the then 32-year-old Morkel returned to international cricket after a nine-month long absence due to a back problem which was suspected to be career-ending.

Morkel, however, has played in every South Africa Test match since his return and showed no signs of weariness by taking 52 wickets in 12 Test matches at a bowling average of 22. He has not been as much of a threat in the shorter formats.

This announcement has indeed come as a surprise, particularly with the 2019 Cricket World Cup only 15 months away and the possible ambition to help South Africa end its hoodoo in this quadrennial tournament.

Morkel was part of the South African team which finished as a semifinalist in the 2015 World Cup, with an agonising loss to New Zealand in Auckland and not managing to control the emotions of being beaten at the last-four stage once again.