Johannesburg - Albie Morkel’s dream of an international recall four years after playing in his last One Day International (ODI) for South Africa is in tatters, but the Titans skipper’s sobering reflection on fate and his positive outlook about the rest of his career would have made the poet Rudyard Kipling proud.
Kipling’s words: “if you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat both these impostors just the same ... you will be a man, my son,” is inscribed above the players’ entrance at the Wimbledon Championships’ Centre Court.
Morkel was quick to point out that he owed his appearance in a 50th T20 game for South Africa in 2015 to the absence of David Wiese due to a freak finger fracture.
“If you cannot accept setbacks like these, remain positive and move on, the sporting world will be a dark place,” Morkel said about the back injury he sustained in the warm-ups for the Momentum One Day Cup match against the Warriors at Buffalo Park in East London on Sunday.
“It is part of life and you have to live with it. I intend to get back as soon as possible,” Morkel said.
An MRI-scan revealed some damage between L4 and L5 in the lower vertebrae of the lumbar spine, and he will be out for the first two ODIs on Wednesday in Bloemfontein against England and on Saturday at St. George’s Park in Port Elizabeth against the same foes.
He has also been ruled out of the One Day match against the Cape Cobras in Benoni on Friday, February 5.
Morkel received a call-up after injuries ruled out Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and due to the hamstring-niggle which had Kyle Abbott sidelined for a part of the fourth Test at SuperSport Park against England.
The 34-year old Morkel gave the national selectors a reminder of his prowess when he smashed 40 off 28 balls against the Knights and featured in a 46-run partnership in 3.3 overs with Chris Morris to set up a challenging 301/7 for the Titans on Friday.
Morris hammered 45 off 16 balls. Both all-rounders also featured with the ball, as Morris took 3-30 and Morkel nipped out 2-36. Consequently, the hosts coasted to a 55-run win.
“I think I have played some of the best cricket of my life-time the past year and a half.
“I feel you need this type of finishing that Chris and I was part of. It just took the game away from the Knights. Instead of chasing 260, the target was suddenly 300. That proved beyond them,” he added.
Morkel was not the only victim of the disastrous expedition to East London, as Heino Kuhn, another national contender, sustained a serious injury to the ring finger of his right hand, and Morkel suspects he might be out of action for a few weeks, pending a MRI-scan and a more comprehensive medical check-up.
The Warriors won by 14 runs. Kuhn, who could hardly hold the bat, made a brave, late entrance, but scored only four.
The injury to Morkel could still prove a serious setback for South Africa’s plans as he had been in prolific form with both bat and ball in the Ram Slam T20 Challenge and the One Day Cup competition.
Paul Harris, a former South African left-arm spinner, said Morkel has definitely added a yard of pace this season, while he has regained his ability to swing it late.
Morkel has represented South Africa in 58 ODIs and 50 T20 matches. His 3-12 in his 50th match for South Africa was arguably his finest performance for the Proteas in the shortest format.
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