South Africa vs Australia: Gary Kirsten hails retiring Morne Morkel a Proteas great
Gary Kirsten says Morne Morkel will go down as a South Africa great and expects the Proteas to beat Australia in the paceman’s final Test.
Morkel will end his illustrious international career after the last match of the series against embattled Australia, which gets under way at the Wanderers on Friday.
The 33-year-old quick took his 300th Test wicket during the third Test at Newlands last week and finished with career-best match figures of 9-110 as the tourists were consigned to a 322-run defeat.
Morkel’s exploits were overshadowed by a ball-tampering scandal which has resulted in Steve Smith and David Warner being banned for a year and Cameron Bancroft getting a nine-month suspension - all three having the right to appeal.
Former South Africa coach and opening batsman Kirsten said Morkel can be proud of his achievements as he prepares to bow out in Johannesburg.
Kirsten told Omnisport: “It was great to see Morne do so well [in Cape Town], he is one of the most likeable cricketers one would ever come across and has had an outstanding career.
“Absolutely, he’ll go down as one of South Africa’s great bowlers. He’s got 300 Test wickets and he’s right up there.
“I think most importantly, I have incredibly fond memories of him and Dale Steyn at their best and they were a really formidable unit.
“When I was fortunate enough to have two years with the team as a coach, three times we bowled a team out for under 50 - that doesn’t often happen and those guys were instrumental in that, Morne was a massive part of that bowling attack.”
Kirsten expects Morkel to sign off in style by playing his part in the Proteas sealing a 3-1 series win.
“Right from the outset I would have been surprised if South Africa would not have won this series and I would be surprised if they didn’t win the last Test.” he added.
“Australia have shown over the years they can bounce back and will have players who will come in, play for the badge and put a lot of heart into it, but I think with the quality of the South Africa team, they will be tough to beat.”