// LIVE BLOGGING
South African paceman is ready to call it quits after the Test series against Australia, citing family commitments as a major reason
South Africa's Morne Morkel is to retire from international cricket
Morne Morkel has announced he will retire from international cricket after South Africa's upcoming Test series against Australia.
The seamer, who has taken 294 wickets in 83 Test matches for his country, revealed his intentions at a press conference in Durban on Monday.
Morkel, 33, made his international debut in 2006 and has represented the Proteas in a total of 244 games across cricket's three formats since.
"Cricket is what I love," Morne told reporters. "Playing for the Proteas is something very special (but) family comes first."
Morkel's wife, Roz Kelly, was part of the Channel 10 coverage of the Big Bash last year and her husband has recently been linked to a playing contract in the competition with Brisbane Heat.
In the event of his international retirement he would also be eligible as a Kolpak player in English cricket, and three counties are reportedly interested in his services. Morkel said he would continue to take part in domestic tournaments around the world.
Morkel will continue to play domestic cricket
In a statement released by Cricket South Africa, the fast bowler further explained his decision, saying: "It was an extremely tough decision but I feel the time is right to start a new chapter. 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, and I am incredibly grateful to my team mates, Cricket South Africa, and my family and friends for the support over the years. 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.”
Reflecting on his time with the Proteas, he was asked to pick out the highlights of a glittering career.
MORNE MORKEL INTERNATIONAL STATSTests: 83 matches, 294 wickets, ave 28.08ODIs: 117 matches, 188 wickets, ave 25.32T20Is: 44 matches, 47 wickets, eco 7.50, ave 25.34
"When I made my debut in 2006 against India was very special," he said.
"Becoming the No.1 Test team, beating Australia in Australia, England in England, so many right now running through my mind."
CSA acting chief executive Thabang Moroe said: "Being a champion fast bowler is one of the most difficult professions in the sporting world. It requires tremendous skill, dedication and perseverance and, by no means the least, the courage to bowl through the pain barrier at times.
"Those are characteristics Morne has shown throughout his career."
South Africa are due to begin their four-match series against the Aussies at Kingsmead on March 1.
Further matches follow in Port Elizabeth, Cape Town and Johannesburg.