Albie Morkel retires from all forms of cricket

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Sports desk: Albie Morkel, the South African all-rounder, announced his retirement from all forms of cricket, on Wednesday.

Morkel, who played for close to 20 years of professional cricket, made his first-class debut for Easterns against Northerns in the 1999-00 domestic season. Morkel earned a call-up into the South African ODI set-up for the series against New Zealand in 2004 after snaring 12 scalps in List A games in the 2003-04 season.

Morkel essayed his highest individual score of 97 in the 50-over format versus Zimbabwe in 2007. He also snared 50 wickets in the ODI format. However, it was in the T20 format where Morkel made a name for himself, finishing with 4247 runs and 247 wickets.

He was a key component of IPL’s premier side Chennai Super Kings, taking 85 scalps and scoring 974 runs in the franchise-based league. When Super Kings won the IPL in 2011, he gave a glimpse of his skills, bagging 15 wickets. The very next season, he elevated his game with a game-changing seven-ball 28 to power Super Kings to a come-from-behind win versus Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Albie, the elder brother of Morne, led the Titans to a hat-trick of T20 titles between 2015-16 to 2017-18. Morkel also snared 26 scalps and accumulated 572 runs in T20Is for his country. The 37-year-old also played in a solitary Test against Australia in Cape Town in 2009.

“Time has run out for me on the cricket field, and I would like to announce my retirement from the game.” Morkel said. “The last 20 years of my life took me on an incredible journey, with so many awesome memories that I will cherish forever.

“I would like to thank Jacques Faul and everyone involved at the Titans for giving me the opportunity to live my dream,” he said. “The squad is in a healthy state and I’m looking forward to seeing the progress that the younger players will make. I will forever be a big Titans fan.”

“I want to say a big thanks to Cricket South Africa, because it was a huge honour to represent my country. Thank you to my family, friends, supporters and sponsors who were there for me through thick and thin, and most importantly my wife who played an unbelievable supporting role, allowing me to do what I love. Professional sport can be a ruthless space to operate in, and it’s impossible to do it without a solid support system. Thank you so much.”

Titans’ chief executive Dr Jacques Faul noted plans have been made for a farewell match. “He deserves a send-off, and also a chance for the Titans fans to say a fond farewell. It wasn’t just for Titans that he was a massive player, because he also served the Proteas with distinction.”

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