Morne Morkel might pick England county cricket over South Africa

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South African cricketers, Albie and Morne Morkel, have found themselves between a rock and a hard place. Despite of their impressive performance in Tests (also against India), the Morkel brothers’ spot in the South African team is not assured. And this is exactly why their father, Albert Morkel, has revealed that in the absence of a guaranteed spot in South Africa XI, at least one of them would likely sign a deal with England to play county cricket.

Morkel Sr. was resembling a proud father when both his sons, Morne and Albie Morkel, went on to achieve excellence in international cricket. The father was also caught cheering for Morne Morkel on TV screens, when he took a diving catch to dismiss KL Rahul off his own bowling in the on-going Tests against India.

But to realize later on, that the future for both the Morkels in the South African team was not bright, their 68-year-old father, Morkel Sr., resembles an angry old man disheartened at South Africa cricket.

As reported by Pune Mirror, father Albert Morkel spoke about Albie Morkel, who used to be a star all-rounder for Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League, and said that the cricketer was at the peak of his career, but still wasn’t in a safe spot to play cricket for South Africa. Morkel Sr. said,
“I don’t know what to say, there is no reward for hard work and success here. Albie is at the peak of his career.”
“But he can’t be part of the South African Test or ODI side. They are telling him to play Twenty20 cricket. The South African team is looking for all-rounders but they won’t consider him. Albie played one Test and he had scored 58 and after that he never got to play for South Africa. The reservation system undermines merit.”
And the selection system might go on to derail even Morne Morkel’s flourishing career, who is arguably one of the best pacers in the current crop of world cricketers, is the prevalent concern that is bothering Morkel Sr.
Morkel Sr. revealed that Morne, who has bagged 285 wickets in 81 Tests (excluding the 2nd India-South Africa Test), is weighing his alternate options to play cricket. The all-rounder’s father made it clear that if there are no assurances from the South African squad, then he would go on to sign the Kolpak deal, which will allow him to play county cricket for England. The concerned father spoke about Morne Morkel and said,
“He (Morne) is 33 and can’t wait too long. There have been developments in which there is no guarantee that his place is assured in the South African XI. In the absence of any such assurances, he would leave for England. Three major counties have offered him deals.”

Morne Morkel will consult South Africa coach Ottis Gibson

Local media reports have suggested that Morne Morkel would would discuss the conundrum with South Africa head-coach, Ottis Gibson, about his chances of playing in the 2019 World Cup. And if there are no guarantees, then Morne would migrate to England.

Father, Albert Morkel confirmed,

“Look there are players like Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada and Dale Steyn in the fray. Now they have brought in young Lungi Ngidi into the Test squad. He (Morne) has to secure his future.”

What is the Kolpak deal?

Under the Kolpak deal, a player becomes eligible to play for a county of England if he decides to give up the right to play for his country. In such a case, the said player would not be considered as an overseas player (a class of enrollment in the English domestic cricket).

Till date there have been a handful of cases, where players have migrated from South Africa cricket to England county cricket, such as – Rilee Rossouw and Kyle Abbott. But apparently, many more players from South Africa are in the queue to move out, and Morne Morkel is one of them.

South Africa team selection system

Albert Morkel, the father, explained the point and said,

“Look if the Titans play their best XI, they will win the World Cup. Faf du Plessis, Dale Steyn, AB de Villiers, Morkel, Dean Elgar… and the team is led by Albie (Morkel). But the as per the quota system here, six coloured players have to be part of the XI. Sometimes, Faf will not find a place in his franchise team although he is the captain of the national team.”

The quota system necessitates the South African national team to have four mandatory coloured players in the playing XI. And two out of those four players have to compulsorily be ethnic players.

In the first Test against India in Newlands, the South African team management could not comply with the ‘minimum four coloured players’ rule, as the team wanted to accommodate AB de Villiers. So, the management had taken special permission from the cricket authorities.

However, with the inclusion of Lungi in the XI for the 2nd Test in Centurion, the rule has been complied to. What is noteworthy here, is that Lungi does not have an experience of even 10 first-class cricket games, while Chris Morris is seated among the substitutes.


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