Wellington - Morne Morkel isn’t remotely worried about his ‘lack’ of wickets and believes that Vernon Philander has “deserved every single one” of his phenomenal 45-wicket haul in his first six Test matches.
“It is a team game and I don’t mind who takes the wickets as long as we are winning,” the amiable Morkel said after a second successive day of indoor nets in a rain and windswept Wellington on Wednesday.
“I’m bowling first-change so I’m only too happy to come on when Vern or Dale have already taken a couple. It’s important not to get caught up in all that stuff about who’s taking the wickets and how many. I’m bowling well at the moment and if I’m contributing in some way at the other end while they are taking the wickets then I’m happy,” Morkel said.
“The bowlers are a team within a team and we share in each other’s success. I’m loving Vern’s run at the moment but, at the same time, I also believe that my ‘special game’ is just around the corner.”
A couple of New Zealand’s batsmen have admitted, privately, that facing Philander - and even Steyn - is more ‘comfortable’ than facing Morkel who’s extra pace and bounce have made life extremely awkward. More about life, in fact, than wickets.
“I’ve been a bit lucky that there has been some bounce in the wickets - not a lot of pace, but the bounce certainly helps my style. If I can make them uncomfortable and contribute to them getting out at the other end, then I’m happy. All bowlers like to take wickets but we like to win matches even more,” Morkel said.
A busy international season has seen Morkel a virtual ever-present in all three formats of the game and, like many in the Proteas, he will have just a couple of days at home after the New Zealand tour before joining the IPL.
“Off to Delhi in my case - looking forward to it! My body is feeling very strong and mentally I’m still fresh, so I’m not worried about the workload.
“All I want to do right now is arrive back in South Africa with a two-nil Test series victory. That would mean the end of a very, very good tour to New Zealand.”
It is a country he has enjoyed immensely. “The two extra days after the Hamilton test gave us a chance to drive around and see some of the country - we had some fishing earlier and then we saw some of the famous hot springs. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great so our attempt at golf lasted just four holes, but I liked what I saw enough to come back on holiday sometime in the future, hopefully!”