South Africa could be dealt for another blow as Morne Morkel weighs up his future in international cricket. ESPNcricinfo understands that at least three counties are pursuing him as a Kolpak signing ahead of the 2018 season.
One of those counties is Warwickshire, with a London club also believed to be interested. Morkel is understood to be considering his options.
While the news will cause concern in South Africa, who are reeling from a spate of Kolpak-related losses, it might make sense from Morkel’s perspective. He will 33 in October and could view a long-term county deal as a secure and lucrative way to see out his career.
He might also be nervous about the possibility of the Kolpak window closing. There is some suggestion that, as a result of the referendum vote to leave the EU, the relevant trade deal that allows such players to qualify might become obsolete to those wanting to work in the UK.
Morkel has been in magnificent form, having only recently returned from a career-threatening back injury. Elected as South Africa’s Man of the Series after his performances in the Tests against England, he was not flattered by the 19 wickets he took. He was still South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in the series.
ESPNcricinfo revealed in January that Kyle Abbott and Rilee Rossouw were to abandon their international careers for the security of long-term contracts at Hampshire, while Simon Harmer and Hardus Viljoen are among the other players of international quality who decided to make their future in domestic cricket in England.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.