Image courtesy of: Zimbio
South Africa pace bowler Morne Morkel joined an elite club when he took his 300th Test wicket on the second day of the third Test against Australia in Cape Town.
Morkel became just the fifth South Africa bowler to achieve the feat after Shaun Pollock, Dale Steyn, Makhaya Ntini and Allan Donald.
The 33-year-old admitted that he bringing up the milestone was an extremely special moment for him, especially as it came in his last series before he retires from international cricket.
“It’s a special feeling, especially because I’m the world record holder for no balls. I had to turn and check for each of the wickets today,” Morkel was quoted as saying by Sport24. “To eventually reach it is something I’ve worked hard towards for a long time and to get it at this amazing venue makes it even better.”
Morkel admitted that he thought he would continue to be sidelined after he was dropped for the second Test in Port Elizabeth.
“You think about those sorts of things, especially with Lungi bowling so well,” Morkel said. “Luckily for me I got an opportunity and I knew that this was my Test match to do it.
“I put a lot of hard work in over the week after PE and sat down for hours analysing my Durban spells. I’m just glad I got the rewards today.”
When asked what went through his head upon dismissing Australia batsman Shaun Marsh and getting to 300 Test wickets, the Vereeniging native said: “It’s a bit of a blur. It meant a lot to get that wicket. I had to work hard. I wasn’t blessed with that natural talent to run up and hit a length, so for me over the 12 years was a lot of hard work. To get that is an achievement and I’m proud of myself.
“Every time I walk onto the field and get the ball in my hand, that for me is special.”
Morkel also made it clear that he has no intention of changing his mind when it comes to retiring from international cricket after the ongoing series.
“Mentally, I’m still feeling fantastic,” he said. “For the future, I’m still feeling good and I can still play for a couple of years, but it is a family decision.
“Once you’ve made your mind up, you can’t really turn back on that decision. I’d rather go out on a high now than have a couple of average games.”