South Africa could lose Morne Morkel as Counties target him as a Kolpak signing
What’s the story?
According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, Counties are targeting Morne Morkel as a potential Kolpak Signing ahead of the 2018 season. As understood, the number of counties interested in him stands at three. One of those includes Warwickshire. Moreover, reports suggest that another London Club is also ready to approach the South African seamer. Morkel hasn’t denied these deals straight away. Instead, he is weighing the options available.
South Africa have been dealing with the loss of a significant number of players to Kolpak Contracts in recent times. Now, with a premier player like Morne Morkel coming into the Kolpak scene, South Africa’s problem has only aggravated.
In case you didn’t know...
Earlier in January, ESPNcricinfo had revealed that South African internationals, Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw, were on the verge of giving up their South African careers for secure and long-term contracts at Hampshire. They were not the only players who chose County careers over their country. In fact, other players like Simon Harmer and Hardus Viljoen, having the potential to represent South Africa in international cricket, had also decided to secure their future with domestic cricket in England.
The heart of the matter
Morkel will turn 33 in October and doesn’t have that many years of international cricket left in him with injuries haunting him in recent times. The fact that he returned from a career threatening back injury recently might force him to consider his future in county cricket.
With the regular influx of new and young players in the South African side, he might not get back into the side again in case he suffers another injury. The same can happen in the South African domestic scene as well.
He has been in a good run of form as he returned from the Test series against England as South Africa’s ‘Man of the Series’. He took a total of 19 wickets in the series and emerged as their highest wicket-taker.
It is highly possible that Morkel might end up signing the Kolpak deal. It is a very nice way to secure his future for the long-term without being worried about falling out of favour. However, he might also be nervous as there have been some talks about the Kolpak window closing.
The Kolpak process is at the risk of closing down as the trade deal that allows such players to qualify for playing in the UK might become invalid. The reason behind it is the referendum vote to leave the EU.
Morkel is in good form at the moment. His exit from international cricket will be a big loss for South Africa. However, his future in international cricket is not guaranteed with injuries haunting him. So, it is not bad for a player to look for alternative options to secure his career in the long run. Even if the Kolpak window gets closed he might consider other options.