Johannesburg - Morne Morkel, like Vernon Philander and Rory Kleinveldt in recent days, has vowed to solve the no-ball problem which resurfaced in both England and again during the first Test in Brisbane and which saw him denied a wicket for the sixth time in international cricket.
According to supersport.com website, beset by the problem early in his career, the big man from Vereeniging said before training in Adelaide on Monday that the pace bowling quartet would be putting in extra work with coach Allan Donald to ensure it doesn’t happen again at the Adelaide Oval starting on Thursday.
“Obviously it’s a discipline we need as a bowling attack,” Morkel said. “It’s a controllable and it is something I’ve been working hard on in my game. The stats show that we’ve been bowling quite a lot of them in past couple of Test series so it’s definitely something we’re targeting at the moment at nets. Hopefully we can be better in the next test.”
Morkel is all too aware of the difference a single illegal delivery can make to a match – even a series. He watched in horror as England wicketkeeper Matt Prior was recalled after being caught in the deep off a no ball on the final day of the Lord’s Test match and, for a terrifying 15 minutes, could only pray as images of the series being squared and the No 1 ranking disappearing started to haunt him.
In the first Test at the Gabba he had opener Ed Cowan ‘caught’ down the leg side on 59 only to see him march on to 138.
“If my foot was behind the line they could have been a couple more down and it would have been a different story. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, especially as you know the quality of the batsmen. You don’t want to give the guys that extra chance. But it’s a matter of getting over it and trying to get on with the job.
“As a fast bowler I back myself. If I can get them out once, I can do it twice, so I just need to let it go and really focus on the next ball. I can’t bring it back, I can’t control that,” Morkel said.
Reminded that he could be half a dozens wicket better off, Morkel showed that had had no lost his sense of humour.
“Oh yes, I’ve been used to this sort of thing. At times I’m good with my foot. I don’t know if it’s my long leg or my big feet, but I’m very tight at times on that front line.
“All jokes aside, it’s definitely something I’m working on very hard and hopefully it will go well in the next Test.”
Responding to a comment from rival speedster James Pattinson - who claimed that Morkel, Steyn and Philander had been “outbowled” at the Gabba, Morkel shrugged his shoulders: “That’s a statement he’s going to make. We bowled very well first in the first session and to have them 40-3 was a good effort. They batted well after that as well, so give credit to Clarkey and Huss. But that’s gone, it’s past, everybody’s starting on zero.
“Hopefully we can put our peg in the ground and let the ball do the talking from Thursday.”