With the news that Morne Morkel will not return to Surrey in the 2021 season, there’s never been a better time to reflect on the South African’s impact on the Three Feathers.
The legendary pace bowler joined Surrey shortly after his international retirement in 2018 and, after battling back from an injury sustained in the final Test of his long and distinguished career, burst into life almost immediately for Rory Burns’ side.
After an international career of incredible longevity, Morne made 46 appearances in a Surrey shirt across all formats. 27 of those came in first-class cricket, in which he very much became the leader of the attack, with 10 more in List A and nine in T20 cricket.
In those 46 matches came 136 wickets across all formats, with 107 poles from almost 800 overs in first-class cricket. 17 came in List A cricket with a further 12 in T20 matches.
59 wickets at 14.32 in just 10 appearances was one of the star turns in Surrey’s run to the 2018 County Championship title. Despite missing four fixtures, he came second in the list of Division One wicket takers that season.
To bowl almost 800 overs in County Championship cricket and take wickets at 21.44 throughout is one of the greatest indicators of the quality of the bowler.
Bowling first change at Trent Bridge, Morkel ripped through Nottinghamshire in 2018 to turn a match on its head and claim his best match figures of his time at Surrey.
A spectacular run of five-wicket hauls in the middle of the 2018 season often turned fixtures that were on a knife’s edge into Surrey’s match.