Morne Morkel says career ‘nearly finished’

Story image for Career from Daily Excelsior

South Africa fast bowler Morne Morkel admitted to the possibility of his career coming to an end and said he’s now playing the game to ‘enjoy the moments.’

The 32-year-old, whose career has been marred by injuries, unlike his senior teammates, AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis, isn’t looking at the 2019 World Cup as a realistic possibility.

Although he didn’t put a date on how long he is expecting himself to be around the South Africa side, there were sly indications that his days may very well be numbered.

“I don’t know. After this tour, we’ll see. I’ll speak with Cricket South Africa and see where they see me featuring,” Morkel told ESPN Cricinfo.

“I love playing for this team. But it’s not rocket science that they probably want to start looking, in white-ball cricket, at the 2019 World Cup.

“Am I going to part of those plans? If I can be around to help the younger guys find their feet, so be it. I’ll do that. For me, the main focus is this tour and then we’ll go back and see how we go,” he added.

Morkel hasn’t played much limited-overs cricket in the past 11 months, and although he featured in all three of South Africa’s matches in the ICC Champions Trophy, he believes that the preferences of the selectors now lie elsewhere.

“My conditioning’s been good over the years and I really look after my body. Mentally and physically I feel strong. But the World Cup is two or three years down the line and those are decisions they need to make,” he said.

With Kagiso Rabada and Andile Phehlukwayo climbing the ladders and Lungi Ngidi on the doors, all of them being under 23 years of age, South Africa’s pace attack for the future looks settled.

Wayne Parnell and Chris Morris are other fast-bowling options to regularly feature for the Proteas, and they also double up as all-rounders.

Morkel had decided to skip the IPL and will not take part in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) as well in a bid to focus on the home Test season this year, wherein South Africa are scheduled to play at least 10 Test matches.

Besides, there’s also South Africa’s newly-launched T20 competition, the Global League.

“If there’s a T20 league I can go and play in and improve my skills and put my name into the hat for other tournaments, then I need to make that opportunity count. But the Proteas and this environment come first. So I need to focus on that,” Morkel said.

Over the years, and especially after Dale Steyn was sidelined due to injuries, Morkel has taken it upon himself to be the leader of the pace attack and hasn’t shied away from pitching the ball up to extract movement off the surface, something he wasn’t particularly known for.

However, he now feels that the curtains are slowly being drawn on his own tussle and that he’s savouring every moment before it happens.

“For me, every time I get the ball, it’s about really enjoying the moment. In the past, I put myself under a lot of pressure, but I think those sort of days are gone.

“I know how quickly a career can change. And I’m not starting my career. My career’s nearly finished. So I am just enjoying the moment.”