South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel has announced that he would bid adieu to all forms of international cricket following the conclusion of the four-match Test series against Australia, beginning Thursday in Durban.
The 33-year-old said that though it was an extremely tough decision, he believes that it is a right time to quit cricket and focus on his other commitments.
"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," he said.
Thanking the Cricket South Africa (CSA) and his family for the faith they had put in him over the years, Morkel insisted that he had enjoyed every minute that he had played in the South Africa jersey.
"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," the fast bowler added.
CSA acting CEO Thabang Moroe, on the other hand, heaped praised on Morkel's commitment and `highly valued `contribution towards South African cricket over the past decade.
"He has been a regular selection for both the Standard Bank Proteas 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," Moroe added.
Morkel has appeared in 83 Tests, 117 ODIs and 44 T20 Internationals in a successful career spanning 12 years.
The South African pacer is currently the fifth highest all-time wicket-taker for South Africa in Test matches with 294 scalps, including seven five-wicket hauls. He has an impressive tally of 529 wickets across the three formats of the game