MORKEL IN AUSTRALIA
Cricbuzz Staff •
“Australia is going to be home for me from now on” – Morkel. © Getty
Morne Morkel, the former South Africa cricketer who took the Kolpak route, could qualify as a local player for the 2020-21 season of the Big Bash League, having relocated to Sydney with his family. Morkel, who retired from international cricket last year at the conclusion of the Test series against Australia, has expressed his desire to feature in the BBL and Sheffield Shield.
Morkel’s wife Roz Kelly, who’s a journalist, and their two children, have Australian passports while the former South Africa pacer currently has a tourist visa and as per the rules of the country, it could take him up to five years to become an Australian citizen. However, Morkel’s participation as a local player could happen before the start of the 10th season of BBL if he manages to secure permanent residency.
Should Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association be satisfied that the player is “dedicated to becoming eligible to represent Australia…and will not seek or agree to represent any other ICC Full Member”, that permanent resident can be approved as a local player.
All depends on the paperwork, with the assistance of a BBL club or a state team possibly expediting the process. However, with Morkel representing Surrey in County cricket and set to spend five months in the United Kingdom, he’s unlikely to get permanent residency for the 2019-20 Australian season.
“Australia is going to be home for me from now on so hopefully we can sort out passports and visas and those sort of things,” he told cricket.com.au. “I understand there’s a process and I respect that. I’m open to any possibilities and opportunities that come my way because I’m going to base myself in Australia for the next couple of years or however long it may be.
“Australia’s going to be my home so I’m definitely trying to get my foot in the door. But there’s been no formal sit-down discussions about signing or playing any state cricket. It’s just been about meeting the guys and getting a feel for Australia,” he added.
Unlike some retired players who focus on T20 Leagues, Morkel said he was keen to play first-class cricket in Australia next season as an overseas player, mentioning that he was physically and mentally fit to play long-form cricket.
“I still feel mentally and physically that I’m capable of playing and bowling a lot of overs. I love the game, so I think it’s important to give back…and if I can add value by playing red-ball cricket and spend time with youngsters, that’s the stuff that really excites me. I’m still available for all formats so if there’s an opportunity here, that’d be great,” Morkel said.