South Africa news April 4, 2013

Albie Morkel considers his SA career over


Albie Morkel has become the second South African player in the past one week to consider his international career over. In an interview to the Times of India, Morkel admitted he does not see the IPL as an opportunity to stake a claim for a national recall.

"By all counts I won't play for South Africa again, so it's not a desire of mine to prove anything to anyone," Morkel wrote. "My focus will be to do my best for CSK and contribute on and off the field."

Last Thursday Ashwell Prince signed a two-year Kolpak deal with Lancashire and yesterday went to Lord's to confirm the end of his ambitions to play for South Africa.

Morkel and Prince both lost their central contracts last month, when CSA announced their 21-player list. Also dropped from the books was Jacques Rudolph, Rusty Theron and the retired Mark Boucher. The four who are still playing were told by convener of selectors Andrew Hudson that they would be considered for the national team if any of them showed exceptional form, but the reassurance has not been a comfort to two of them.

Prince, who last played in the Boxing Day Test of 2011, appears to have accepted losing his place in the Test line-up. Mohammed Moosajee, the South Africa team manager who has known Prince throughout his career said that at 35, the batsmen was simply looking for ways to "further his career before retirement," so that the administrators harbour no hard feelings over his new contract.

For Morkel, the situation is a little different. He is regarded as one of the top Twenty20 allrounders in the game, has been called one of the best finishers by MS Dhoni and, on face value, seems to have all the qualities South Africa need in a powerful middle-order hitter in limited-overs. But his numbers do not match his reputation.

In ODIs, Morkel averages 23.69 with the bat and 37.98 with the ball and has seldom put in the kind of match-winning performance expected of him. His strike rate in T20s sits at over 142.73, but with South Africa's constantly changing structure there was never room to use him as an opening bowler and there was not a designated spot in the batting line-up for him. Morkel did not settle into a role, as he did at CSK, and the lack of certainty seemed to impact on his performances. Stephen Fleming alluded to that at the 2012 Champions League when he explained why Morkel's success in the IPL outweighed his achievements at international level.

"He is a bit more secure with us and a bit more in spotlight which may make him more comfortable with CSK in his role," Fleming said. "When you have got a talented side like South Africa, they try different techniques and tactics all the way through and he may be searching a bit for his role within the side."

The system gave Morkel many years, but not enough successive matches, to find his place and eventually cut him off. Although Hudson did not close the door on Morkel, he left it barely ajar when he said the selectors felt it was time to "move forward," and had "one or two other options in mind for the limited-overs formats."

Ryan McLaren is the first choice allrounder at the moment but Chris Morris, Morkel's new team-mate at CSK, is another of the players South Africa are looking to blood in that role. Morkel had nothing but praise for the man whom he may end up facing off against for a place in the starting XI. "Chris has really done well in the last two seasons in South Africa. He is a fierce competitor, bowls fast and can hit the ball long. He will definitely win CSK a few games," Morkel said.

Or his graciousness may just be another sign of how well Morkel has been managed by Fleming and how much he enjoys playing under him. Morkel will meet up with his CSK team-mates after playing in the South African domestic T20 final on Sunday which means he will not be available for their opener against Mumbai Indians on Saturday.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ALL STARS XI on April 9, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    yea, better he can come out of South Africa... :) you come to chennai man!!!!! ROAR FOR CSK....... always u are an imp. all-rounder for csk..... better stay in ipl......that too csk.. our indian captain dhoni is the right person to utilise you........come on........... come soon to join IPL.......chennai ku whistle podu!!!!!! ;)

  • Srinath BadriNarayanan on April 9, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    it is mainly because, Albie is 'under-utilized'. if you see the number of balls faced by morkel in ODIs it is only a MERE 780 deliveries. if you see the openers like amla or smith, they play those balls in just one series itself if they hang out sometime there..!! and albie will come into bat only at the end, say 45th over either to chase down a big target in few balls or to put up a commanding total on the board. remember he is the man of the series in australia series 2008-09, with a consistent performance in every match! from that, aussies are afraid of him, and they have rightly kept his name as Albie "powerplay" Morkel.. and leading wicket taker of the CSK, and known for his big hitting and huge sixes out of the ground -- for him, such a situation, to prove some more, is quite not digestible.. let the South african selectors reconsider this one, atleast considering these points!

  • dummy4fb on April 7, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    Albie Morkel has proved his worth time and again and is obviously a keystone player for CSK..... for me i think he is a bit under rated...

  • dummy4fb on April 6, 2013, 6:23 GMT

    @Albie: You better stay at CSK. You are more fit here. It very unfortunate for Albie not to get a change in SA team. Good luck.

  • 2nd_Slip on April 5, 2013, 20:04 GMT

    I would like to thank Albie for giving his all for the proteas when called up and wish him all the best for the future. Certainly not a bad player as the presented figures suggest but at the moment there is just better talent at SAs disposal.

  • Protears on April 5, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    Albie Morkel, Ashwell Prince, Rusty Theron, all either past sell by or were never international level to begin with. I know there will be lots crying about this but honestly Albie was a abject failure and never dependable, Rusty Theron was a one show pony and never revived his career, Ashwell was past his best but was a solid player for a few years in the Proteas test middle order.

    There are better domestic options and its time to put this one to rest.

  • edgie on April 5, 2013, 11:45 GMT

    while i aggree in part that he was not used to his full potential when playing for the Proteas, he has also not done himself any favours with his VERY eratic form, and lack of consistancy be it with bat and ball. Many a gma has he played wher neither with bat nor ball has he delivered, and he went through a log teething period with the ODI side with little to show for it.And the excuse that he was not battign ina prefered place, comon, u r a professional, u r there for the team, not for where u want to play. Again, a pity that he was not utilised well, but not all the blame should fall at the door of the Proteas management.

  • Z.Majid on April 5, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    Albie must continue playing for SA He can bat under pressure and lead SA to victory

  • Clan_McLachlan on April 5, 2013, 7:26 GMT

    Albie is one of a number of unfortunate SA allrounders to play in the days of Jacques Kallis. Like the keepers who lost out to Boucher, the likes of Albie Morkel and Justin Kemp might have been regulars in many other national teams, but not in the same team as Kallis.

  • dummy4fb on April 5, 2013, 6:04 GMT

    I would say that great player was wasted.What more you want in an allrounder who can win you matches single handedly and bowl prett well.They have other allrounder like botha peterson and 5 batsman,3 bowlers ,3allrounders would be a pretty great combination in limited overs cricket.So sad.