South Africa pacer Morne Morkel on Monday announced that he will retire from international cricket at the end of his team’s upcoming Test series against Australia.

“It was an extremely tough decision but I feel this the time is right to start a new chapter,” said Morkel.

“I have a young family and a foreign wife, and the current demanding international schedule has put a lot of strain us. I have to put them first and this decision will only benefit us going forward.

“I have loved every minute that I have played in the Proteas jersey...I still feel there is a lot of cricket left in me and I am excited for what lies ahead. For now, all of my energy and focus is on helping the Proteas win the upcoming series against Australia,” he added.

The tall paceman has played in 83 Tests, 117 one-day internationals and 44 Twenty20 internationals. Morkel, 33, has taken 294 Test wickets and his tally across all formats is 529.

Morkel’s decision means he will not be available for the World Cup in England next year.
There were reports last year that Morkel was contemplating playing county cricket in England under the Kolpak regulation, which would make him ineligible for national selection.

South Africa play four Tests against Australia starting March 1 in Durban.