SURREY (UK): Former South African pacer Morne Morkel
has called time on his three-year stint
with Surrey after choosing not to return to the club for the 2021 season.
Morkel played at the Oval for three seasons taking 136 wickets in all formats. He played a key role in Surrey’s 2018 County Championship victory, taking 59 wickets at 14.32 as Surrey won their first Championship since 2002.
He returned in 2019, playing 20 matches, and then again in 2020, playing only one game in the Bob Willis Trophy
after initially being stuck in Sydney because of international travel restrictions and then picking up an ankle injury
which required an operation after accidentally treading on a cricket ball before Surrey’s game against Kent.
In an emotional letter to Surrey fans and members, Morkel said: “When I joined the Brown Caps in 2018, after retiring from international cricket, I was immediately blown away by the club’s professionalism and rich history. Winning the County Championship in my first year at Surrey and soaking up the energy from our supporters and Members – who are the heartbeat of the club – is something I will cherish for the rest of my life.”
“Unfortunately, the time has come to move onto a new chapter. The COVID-19 pandemic
and subsequent quarantine requirements has made travel challenging and it is no longer feasible to spend large amounts of time away from home and my family. To Alec and the team – thank you for the warm welcome and constant inspiration. To the stars behind the scenes – the coaches, medical team, ground and admin staff – we are nothing without you and appreciate everything you do.
“Surrey will forever be in my heart and I wish the team all the best for the coming season and beyond. I’ll be watching and supporting from afar,” he added.
Alec Stewart, Director of Cricket at Surrey, added: “Whilst everyone will miss his presence and contributions, family must come first and with the uncertainty around the pandemic and travel restrictions, we fully understand and respect Morne’s decision.”
Stewart further added that Surrey would only replace Morkel if they could find a player that ‘will add quality to the squad’.
“Sourcing a suitable replacement for Morne will not be easy and therefore we won’t make a decision on a new signing until there’s more clarity on the international schedule and player availability during our season. We will only sign someone who we believe will add to the quality of our squad,” he said.