Morkel joins Perth Scorchers for BBL run home
Jan. 18, 2020
South Africa spearhead replaces England's Chris Jordan to add fearsome weapon to Perth arsenal for pointy end of BBL|09
The Perth Scorchers have roped in South Africa speedster Morne Morkel for the remainder of the KFC BBL season, but will not play in today's showdown with ladder leaders the Melbourne Stars.
Morkel will replace England international Chris Jordan who was included in the country's one-day and T20 squads for the ongoing South Africa tour.
Morkel will join the Scorchers next week but his first game is set to be the final home-and-away fixture against the Sydney Thunder in Sydney on January 26.
The former Protea pace ace is now living in Sydney but will join the squad in Perth. However, he will not be available for the Scorchers' back-to-back home games as they host the Thunder (Monday) and Adelaide Strikers (January 24).
"Once we knew CJ (Chris Jordan) had been picked in the England side we knew that we would need a replacement for the back end of the tournament and Morne was always at the top of the list," Scorchers head coach Adam Voges said.
"He brings a wealth of experience and has performed really well particularly in the Mzansi Super League in South Africa where he was one of the leading wicket takers.
"He was really keen to come on board, luckily I've played a bit with Morne over the years so we've got a good relationship he was super excited to get involved in the Big Bash.
"I think CJ has been fantastic for us, not only what he's brought with the ball but just the way that he's been around the group, his experience has helped the guys out on the field and he's helping Mitch with his leadership as well.
"We wanted someone of a similar calibre to come in and I think Morne will do a great job with that and continue the good work that CJ has done.
"We're going to get Morne to Perth next week and he'll be around the group for a week or so before he plays so that will be great for him to get to know everyone and hopefully make that transition a bit smoother."
The Scorchers currently sit in fourth place ahead of this afternoon's meeting with the Melbourne Stars (3.40pm, Foxtel and Kayo Sports) but need to keep winning to finish inside the top four and guarantee a home final.
Sydney-based Morkel played in the NSW Premier T20 competition with Manly-Warringah at the start of the summer to prepare for South Africa's domestic T20 competition, the Mzansi Super League.
He's also trained with the NSW Blues squad and had expressed an interest in playing in the Big Bash after moving to the city with his wife Roz Kelly, the renowned Network Ten sports journalist.
"I've put out some feelers but probably left if a little bit too late for this year as far as getting my name in the draw (for the BBL)," Morkel said in October.
"I'm still finding my feet here but I'm happy to play this season if a team has a few niggles or injuries.
"If they can see I can add some value then that would be great."
Morkel took 544 international wickets before retiring from the South African team following their Test series win against Australia in March 2018.
He hopes to qualify as a permanent resident, which could see him signed as a local player in BBL|10.
"Australia is going to be home for me from now on so hopefully we can sort out passports and visas and those sort of things," he told cricket.com.au in March last year. "I understand there's a process and I respect that.
"I'm open to any possibilities and opportunities that come my way because I'm going to base myself in Australia for the next couple of years or however long it may be. Australia's going to be my home so I'm definitely trying to get my foot in the door."
The new BBL finals system introduced this season sees the top five teams make the playoffs, and the top four will all host at least one final.
This year the fourth-placed finisher will host the fifth-placed team in a final dubbed 'The Eliminator' on January 30. The winner of that match will advance to play the third-ranked team at their home venue on February 1, dubbed 'The Knockout'.
Meanwhile the top two teams will play 'The Qualifier' on January 31 at the venue of the first-placed finisher. The winner advances straight to the BBL Final on February 8 and will host the match.
The loser of 'The Qualifier' will get a second chance for the first time, and will host 'The Challenger' match against the winner of the 'The Knockout'.