Proteas

No, no, no ... you don't get Morne too!

2017-08-14 11:48
Morne Morkel (Getty)

Cape Town - Last Thursday, Proteas fast bowler Morne Morkel sat at Cape Town International and told media that he was fully committed to playing for the Proteas. 

Hopefully, it wasn't the jet-lag talking. 

Just three days after the Proteas arrived back from England, a report surfaced on Cricinfo linking Morkel to a potential Kolpak deal.

In fact, it linked him to three potential Kolpak deals. 

The 32-year-old was, after all, the standout performer for the Proteas in their woeful four-Test series up north and it is no surprise that his return to form caught the attention of some of county cricket's scouts. 

Captain Faf du Plessis said after the Lord's Test that he had never seen Morkel bowl this well, and most would agree. 

Morkel was incredibly unlucky in England, beating the bat 90-odd times in the series, and his 19-wicket haul was nowhere near reflective of how well he bowled. 

He has his pace back, is continuously developing his skills and he is looking threatening with every spell he bowls. 

As the Proteas look to recover from the England wobble with series against Bangladesh, India and Australia at home coming up, Morkel's availability is key. 

But the scary truth is that we know how this ends. 

A player's commitment to the national cause is always tested when the Pound comes knocking, and all too often it ends the same way. 

Morkel turns 33 in October.

Earlier this year, he thought that his constant struggles with a back injury had ended his international career. He knows that he doesn't have unlimited time. 

The security that would come with a lucrative Kolpak deal is the reason the likes of Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw left, and it will no doubt be an attractive proposition to a man who believes that his career is winding down. 

But where Abbott and Rossouw, and so many others, were uncertain of their international roles, Morkel is bowling well enough to know that he is one of the first names on the Test team sheet at present. 

Vernon Philander is battling fitness, Dale Steyn is not yet ready for international cricket, Duanne Olivier looks like he still has a way to go before he can be considered a regular and Chris Morris has also done little to suggest that he can perform as an out-and-out-seamer. 

At the moment, Morkel and Kagiso Rabada are leading the way.

If the Proteas were to lose Morkel, they would feel the pinch immediately. 

While there are a number of promising young fast bowlers in the country, there are not many who can rival the lanky 78-Test veteran right now. 

It's been a battle for Morkel, but he is finally starting to live up to the expectation that has accompanied him for so long. 

A Test average of 29.01 could come down significantly before he has to call it a day, and at the end of it all, that is what he will be remembered for ... not a stint at a county where they threw some cash his way. 

Nothing has been confirmed yet, but Abbott and Rossouw taught us that where there is smoke there is fire. 

Hopefully Cricket South Africa (CSA) can come up with a way of keeping their man, and hopefully it doesn't all come down to money.

Because if it does, then there is likely to be one outcome. 

Here's hoping that, in Morkel, we have a guy who gets more out of representing his country than he does from financial gain. 

If he is one of those men, he will be part of an increasingly rare breed. 

Follow Sport24 journalist @LloydBurnard on Twitter...

Read more on:    proteas  |  morne morkel  |  cricket
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