YORKSHIRE have ruled out a move for retiring international pace bowler Morne Morkel.
Director of cricket Martyn Moxon said that there were no plans to re-sign the South African, who played briefly for the club in 2008.
Morkel has been linked with a return to county cricket after announcing that the upcoming Test series against Australia will be his last.
The 33-year-old has been tipped to sign a Kolpak contract – an arrangement that allows players from countries with EU trade deals to play in England without being considered as overseas players – and reports have linked him with Yorkshire, Surrey and Warwickshire.
Moxon quashed rumours of any return to Headingley, however, and said that Yorkshire had no desire to go back down the Kolpak path, having previously had fellow South Africans Jacques Rudolph and Deon Kruis on their staff.
Despite losing Ryan Sidebottom at the end of last summer, who retired after a glittering 20-year career, the club are well-served by experienced pace men and a thriving youth set-up.
Asked whether Yorkshire were in the market for Morkel, Moxon said: “No, we’ve got enough seamers, thank you. At this moment in time we’re very content with what we’ve got.
“We haven’t got Ryan any more, but we’ve still got a core of senior bowlers in Plunkett, Willey, Bresnan, Patterson, Brooks, and then exciting young bowlers like Coad and Fisher plus the next generation in Shaw, Wainman, Warner and Waite.
“Those young lads are all kind of waiting in the wings, and we’re hoping that they’ll now really challenge this senior group of bowlers going forward.
“We’ve got the numbers pace bowling-wise, and the key for us now is quality. Can the younger ones I’ve mentioned step up and produce consistent performances that are going to help us win?
“That’s the unknown, but the potential is there, and it will be exciting to see how they develop.”
No county can match Yorkshire’s track record for producing young players in recent times, many of whom have gone on to represent England.
It is why the club give off the impression that the Kolpak route would be very much a last resort, if conceivable full stop, with several South Africans having recently abandoned uncertain or soon-to-be-ended international careers for the security of long-term county contracts.
Morkel cited family reasons and an increasingly demanding international schedule as the reason for his decision to retire from representing South Africa.
A return to county cricket could well prove tempting, particularly as it is unclear whether players will be able to sign Kolpak deals after Britain leaves the EU, raising the prospect that South Africans could look to end their international careers prematurely before that lucrative route is closed off permanently.
As for Yorkshire’s approach to players/recruitment, Moxon made clear: “Our policy is definitely to try and promote as much as we can from within, through our Academy system, our age-group system, and to develop our own players as much as possible.
“If there are gaps in what we need, then we will recruit from wherever we can get whatever we need.
“But, in principle, the Kolpak route is one that we’d certainly prefer not to take.
“In an ideal world, we’ll keep producing our own players as much as possible; that’s very much our first priority.”
Morkel bowled only 15.2 overs before succumbing to a hamstring injury on his Yorkshire debut against Notts in a Championship match at Headingley.
He has gone on to become one of the world’s best players and needs just six more wickets for 300 in Tests.