Proteas still sweat over Albie

2012-09-20 10:24

Cape Town – Assuming it is feasible, South Africa could do a lot worse than risk playing all-rounder Albie Morkel as a batsman only in their ICC World Twenty20 opener against Zimbabwe at Hambantota (16:00 our time) even if there are any ongoing concerns about his ability to bowl.

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His state of readiness for the southern African “derby” was unclear at the time of writing, although EWN Sport on the Cape Talk radio station issued a tweet on Thursday quoting team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee as saying: “Fortunately everyone has recovered (after a virus swept through the camp earlier in the week) ... we just now have to do one more test on (Morkel).”

When the Proteas played a warm-up match against New Zealand earlier this week – they won it by nine runs – Morkel broke down with back spasms after bowling nine deliveries in the Black Caps’ chase, but he had earlier bludgeoned 15 not out off just four balls at the climax of the South African innings.

That is exactly the sort of striking you need toward the finish, and if there is a chance that Morkel will be fit enough to bat and field sufficiently only, then perhaps he is worth risking even in that more restricted capacity.

In the likely line-up they will put out against the Zimbabwean underdogs, if Morkel is able to be stationed at No 7 (though obviously flexible according to situation) there ought to still be more than enough bowling options available to captain AB de Villiers without Morkel’s seam fare.

Frontline pace duty will no doubt be in the hands of Dale Steyn and Morkel’s younger brother Morne, with primary spin from the in-form alliance of Johan Botha and Robin Peterson.

But there is also veteran Jacques Kallis to chip in four overs of his renowned “heavy balls” if need be, plus part-time extra spin options from JP Duminy and Justin Ontong, assuming the last-named player is pencilled in for the intended No 6 berth.

If there is one thing the modern Proteas limited-overs side slightly lacks, it is long-ball hitters down their order; they will look even more vulnerable in that department if Morkel is not available to the cause.

While it is true that the older Morkel, 31, has not always delivered tornado performances with the blade as regularly as the Proteas would like, his ability is beyond doubt and he has plentiful knowledge of Subcontinent pitches through his stellar feats in the Indian Premier League for Chennai Super Kings over several campaigns.

If he is not deemed fit enough to be considered at all for the XI against Zimbabwe – the red-shirted minnows will bow out of the tournament early if they lose – Wayne Parnell or Faf du Plessis will probably deputise, depending on which man’s skills are deemed more useful on the day.

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing


  • jed.vonallemann - 2012-09-20 10:40

    It will be a disaster if Parnell's going to replace him.

      UNITY - 2012-09-20 13:18

      I don't get it! We always sweating over a player..when our country has immense talent..we only figure it out, when they start playing for England! Where's a plan B if someone gets hit by a bus tomorrow! This article makes it appear that we have lost the T20 without one player and we have no depth! I just can't wait to see Albie, and levi and all the hype about these players! Unless they need more practice games! Today should be one! Hope oi doesn't get screwed up!

  • dan8472 - 2012-09-20 10:58

    If ever a man lived up to his nickname then it is \Faf\. That's all he ever does at the crease.

  • boom.afridi.56 - 2012-09-20 11:08

    It is Zimabwe for goodness sakes!! You do not need an Albie Morkel to beat a crap team like Zim. If you're relying so much on Albie, then kiss that trophy goodbye. It's like as if SA is playing India or Aussies this is no big deal man, even in a 20 over match this should be a walkover like with Sri Lanka.

  • david.s.duncan.1 - 2012-09-20 11:47

    Don't risk him, let him get fully match fit for Sri Lanka. What we have seen so far is fairly low scores. India's 160 was a result of poor bowling at times by Afghanistan and terrible fielding. The pitches are only going to get slower. Rather focus on strokeplay instead of pure bludgeoning. Amla and AB will be key for us this tournament. A steady 7/8 run-rate with the occasional big over will see us get good scores. Kohli and Watson have been impressive so far but I feel bowling is going to win the tournament. Mendis for SL and Ajmal for Pakistan make these two sides very dangerous. I'm not convinced M Morkel and Parnell will be effective, they have been very expensive. Just hope we see more of Botha, Duminy, Faf and Peterson bowling. We finally have the slow bowlers to compete on the sub-continent, let's not be like the Boks and let us actually adapt a bit. We have the personnel, it's just a matter of execution. Let's go Protea's!!!

      boom.afridi.56 - 2012-09-20 12:57

      You don't have top quality spin personnel. Neither do you guys have quality players of spin.

      david.s.duncan.1 - 2012-09-20 13:27

      Yeah, Botha, Duminy and Peterson are complete mucks. You're stuck in the '90s. SA have come a long way. Most our batsmen are now competent spin players, AB is a master stroke player and Amla is hands down the best batsmen in the world at the moment. When last has Afridi gone "Boom"? The guys a better bowler at the moment

      boom.afridi.56 - 2012-09-20 13:36

      Only AB and Kallis will be able to handle Ajmal, Afridi, Hafeez. The rest of them will be bamboozled lol Fine i admit not much Boom, but these WC stages are where we can shine. Seriously though, your heart will say SA can win. But really.. Even West Indies are more solid than SA.

      david.s.duncan.1 - 2012-09-20 13:47

      Normally I wouldn't be too optimistic about our chances but Kirsten has brought a much needed mental resolve to the team. As long as our batsmen don't try to do too much and get themselves out, they should be able to post decent totals that our bowlers can defend. It's T20, a little luck can go a long way and any team can win. But don't write us off just yet, our choking days may be over.

  • estar69 - 2012-09-20 15:16

    Do you guys know that Albie holds the most wickets by any t20 international? He is a serious exfactor player, batting or bowling. Time these guys take home the trophy, the have all the credentials! Go proteas!

      richard.barnes.3914 - 2012-09-20 19:12

      What are you talking about? Albie isn't even close to the top of the T20 wicket-takers table.

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