Morne Morkel could well become the latest in a long list of South African players to sign the Kolpak deal.
The South African paceman has announced that if he does not feature in Ottis Gibson’s plans for the 2019 World Cup in England and Wales, he will consider making some “tough decisions”.
Gibson took over from Russell Domingo as the head coach of South Africa last month, and the upcoming series against Bangladesh at home will be his first assignment. With a number of injuries to their senior pacemen, Morkel is expected to share the new ball with Kagiso Rabada in the first Test in Potchefstroom starting on September 28, but once the likes of Vernon Philander and Dale Steyn return, Morkel’s place in the playing XI isn’t guaranteed.
In ODIs, Morkel is also at the back of the bowling queue. Though he played in all of South Africa’s games in the 2017 Champions Trophy, he featured in only one of 19 ODIs prior to that, after nine months out of action with a back injury.
“I am 32 and it is one of the conversations I am going to have with Ottis to find out where I fit in with white ball cricket‚ and if there are any plans for me in 2019‚” Morkel told TimesLIVE on Friday (September 22). “Are they going to look to rebuild for the World Cup? I need to see what is going to happen. Am I going to miss out?”
He continued: “I don’t know when they are going to make the shift of bringing in younger players‚ those are all the things that must be communicated. As long as there is communications and things are clear‚ I can’t afford to sit on the sidelines for the next two years and not play cricket. It is all about timing and communication.”
Currently, Morkel has a one-year contract with Cricket South Africa and will serve the South African side till it expires. Morkel‚ who has represented South Africa in 78 Tests‚ 112 ODIs and 44 T20s‚ said communication between all the parties is important as he needs to consider all his options.
“Obviously you need to look at options. The most important thing is communication from the top to create a situation where we know where we stand,” said Morkel. “At the end of the day as a cricketer, you need to look at the options because we have a lifespan. But if there is communication and you know where you stand‚ then it is easier for everyone.”
Though Morkel had his eyes set on county cricket in England, where players get paid significantly more than those in the domestic circuit in South Africa, he is staying put until the end of his contract. Moreover, he should feature in the selection discussions for later series against India, and Australia.
“If my time is up and they want to move on, unfortunately, that will be it. At the moment‚ I can only work hard and fight for my spot in the team. This is a cut-throat environment,” he rued. “There are a lot of guys knocking on the door but it’s a nice thing because it keeps me motivated and working hard.”
Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw had earlier signed the Kolpak deal. Cameron Delport, Richard Levi, Colin Ingram, Stiaan van Zyl, Dane Vilas, Colin Ackermann, Simon Harmer, David Wiese, Marchant de Lange and Hardus Viljoen were among those who terminated their contracts to feature in more lucrative leagues around the world.