Albie comes out to bat for brother, AB

2016-06-28 22:30
AB de Villiers (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Albie Morkel, a former South African player, has labelled criticism aimed at discrediting senior players like AB de Villiers and his younger brother, Morné Morkel, after the disappointing South African One Day International (ODI) performances in the triangular series in the Caribbean as unfair.

Albie Morkel said there has been some criticism in the media focusing on De Villiers and his brother. Yet, their records clearly underline their superiority and superb performances.

“They are the best, plain and simple.

“Personally, looking from the sidelines, I don’t see a powerful enough unit. They lack that cohesion, that strong bond. There are some superb individual performances, but not enough great team efforts.

“It just seems as if everything right now is cast in uncertainty and that uncertainty affects their performances.”

Morkel says De Villiers’ record since he has become skipper of the ODI-team, is a reflection of his ability to inspire others while leading from the front. “I think he averages about 62 as a skipper,” he said.

In fact, De Villiers’ record is better than that. In 87 matches as a captain, he has scored 4219 runs and averages 65.92 at a strike-rate of 111.05.

Morkel implored critics to look deeper, instead of singling out individuals. He says the blame game on individuals like his brother and AB is not really suitable. The squad and management team as a whole might shoulder the blame, but not individuals who have excelled like De Villiers and the lanky Morkel, he emphasised.

South Africa has plummeted from first to sixth in the global test rankings since their heavy 3-0 loss to India, and has also dropped from third to fourth in One Day International matches the past seven months.

With the exception of the sensational Imran Tahir and Kagiso Rabada, Morkel has arguably been South Africa’s most dependable servant with the ball in ODIs the past three years. His record of 181 wickets in 108 matches at an average of 24.60 is a testimony to his fine performances. At the 2015 Cricket World Cup, Morkel removed 17 batsmen at an average of 17.58 and was South Africa leading wicket taker.

Yet, both Morkel and De Villiers were below par in the Caribbean in the triangular series, where De Villiers averaged 24.20. Morkel, benched for most of the matches, yearned in vain for rhythm against the West Indies on Friday in his only match in which he featured with the ball. He ended with 1-68 in nine expensive overs.

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