South African pace ace Morne Morkel to play in Big Bash League as an Australian

Fast bowler becomes Australian permanent resident after international retirement in 2018

South African fast bowling great Morne Morkel signed on for the Big Bash League as a local rather than international after becoming an Australian permanent resident.

Morkel, 36, played 86 Tests and 117 ODIs for the Proteas and moved to Australia in 2018, where he lives with his sports broadcaster wife and children.

He gained residency this year and put pen to paper with the Brisbane Heat for the Twenty20 tournament starting on December 10.

"I am still enjoying my cricket enormously and the chance to be part of the Heat squad is something I am keen to experience," he said.

"I admit it will be a bit unusual to call myself a local, but we are enjoying living and working here and this is another aspect of our lives that I am looking forward to being a part of."

BBL rules allow three internationals in the same XI with Afghan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman and English pair Tom Banton and Lewis Gregory already signed for the Heat.

Vastly experienced, Morkel's T20 record includes 77 wickets in 70 matches in the Indian Premier League with Rajasthan Royals, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils.

Heat coach Darren Lehmann said he was eager to see Morkel in action.

"I consider his best bowling efforts came as he got older," he said. "His control and skill with the ball were his trademarks so it will be great to introduce him into our group."

Morkel retired from international cricket in 2018.