Proteas

'Nice guy' Morkel waits 85 Tests for finest moment

Morne Morkel (Gallo)
Morne Morkel (Gallo)

Cape Town - After becoming just the fifth South African in history to take 300 Test wickets on Friday, Proteas speedster Morne Morkel was asked to identify the highlight of his career at the post-day press conference. 

After having a think, the 33-year-old could not identify any one thing. 

"Every time I walk onto the field and get the ball in my hand, that for me is special," he eventually offered.

Two days later, he now has an answer to that question. 

"Today was the highlight of my life," he said at Newlands on Sunday after firing South Africa to a 322-run win in the third Test against Australia.

"If I get asked the question again about what my most memorable or special day was, it will definitely be today."

Morkel was simply sublime. 

After bowling four overs in Australia's second innings, he was 0/9. By the time he was done, Morkel had claimed 5/23 in 9.4 overs. 

His figures for his second spell were staggering: 5/14 in 5.4.

In the process, Morkel picked up his best ever match figures of 9/110

Having announced that he will retire at the end of the series, Morkel couldn't have asked for a better way to go out. 

"Today was very special. I tried to enjoy it as much as possible," he said, before adding that there was no going back on his decision to leave international cricket. 

"It is tough, especially leaving a quality group of men in the changeroom. It’s going to be sad, but all good things come to an end."

Captain Faf du Plessis's words were a testament to how much Morkel has contributed in his 85-Test career.

"Morne has been the guy that went unnoticed for the first six, seven or eight years of his career," Du Plessis said.

"He has always been the workhorse … I think only captains appreciate the work that someone like Morne does.

"He’s not the guy who gets fifers like Dale Steyn and Kagiso Rabada. Morne does the donkey work and runs in all day. He never says he’s bowled enough, you tell him that it’s enough and he still wants to bowl more. That’s a captain’s dream."

Known as one of the more kind-hearted members of the set-up over the years, Morkel then received some praise from Du Plessis that he might not have expected.

"He’s been almost a mother figure in the team, if you can say that, with a big heart," Du Plessis said to roaring laughter.

"We’re going to miss that.

"They are size 13 boots that are going to need to be filled. They’re big shoes.

"We understand his decision. It’s a decision for his future and his family, but I think he’s going to miss days like this a lot."

 

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