Reliable Albie waves goodbye

Albie Morkel. Picture: Anesh Debiky / Gallo Images)

Albie Morkel. Picture: Anesh Debiky / Gallo Images)

The former Proteas all-rounder had his critics, but was adored in India and differentiated himself as a dynamic T20 performer.

The big-hitting exploits of Albie Morkel will no longer be seen on cricket fields after the explosive all-rounder announced his retirement on Wednesday from all forms of cricket.

The stalwart and limited-overs captain has called time on an illustrious career spanning two decades with immediate effect.

In first-class cricket, Morkel amassed more than 4 000 runs in 77 matches, with a career-best unbeaten 204 against the Cape Cobras in the 2004-2005 SuperSport Series.

He also captured 203 wickets.

While success prevailed with the red ball, it was in the shorter format that he proved most destructive.

Overall, his one-day career has seen him score in excess of 8 000 runs across both limited-overs formats while garnering 462 wickets.

The 37-year-old made his final appearance for the Sky Blues in October last year during the Abu Dhabi T20, where the Centurion franchise finished runners-up in the inaugural tournament.

Limited-overs captain since the 2015-16 season, he was a giant figure in the changeroom, with his quiet, but strong leadership inspiring others.

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

“I would like to thank Jacques Faul and everyone involved at the Titans for giving me the opportunity to live my dream. 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.”

Of course, his exploits for the Titans saw Morkel soon represent his country, making 109 appearances across all formats, with his ability with bat and ball-winning matches and fans at international level.

” 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.”

Since his debut in 2003, Morkel’s influence at the franchise has been massive, and he was part of an era of significant dominance for the Titans, including a unique hat-trick of T20 titles.

“Albie has been an incredible servant to the Titans,” Titans Cricket Chief Executive Officer, Jacques Faul saluted.

“We want to thank him for all his years of sterling service, and for all the entertainment and success he brought to SuperSport Park. He was massively respected in the changeroom and lived in the stands, and that is a tribute to not only his ability as a cricketer but also as a person.”

Faul added that there would hopefully be a farewell match for Morkel, likely against a touring county side. In addition, he has committed himself to a Titans tour later this year.

“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,” Faul added.

Morkel was an ideal T20 protagonist, and it is fitting that he will sign off in a format where he left an indelible mark domestically, as well as for several franchises around the world.

“He was one of the most destructive cricketers in domestic T20 cricket, and he will be really missed. We wish him all the best in his new ventures,” Faul concluded.

As for what comes next, Morkel said he was excited to start a new chapter.

“Cricket has prepared me well for life after. There are some new opportunities on the horizon, and I’m looking forward to growing into those. I will be enjoying the game from the other side of the rope,” the softly spoken star said.

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