Cape Town - Last Thursday, Proteas fast bowler Morne Morkel sat
at Cape Town International and told media that he was fully committed to
playing for the Proteas.
Hopefully, it wasn't the
Just three days after the
Proteas arrived back from England, a report surfaced on Cricinfo linking
Morkel to a potential Kolpak deal.
In fact, it linked him to three
potential Kolpak deals.
The 32-year-old was, after all,
the standout performer for the Proteas in their woeful four-Test series up
north and it is no surprise that his return to form caught the attention of
some of county cricket's scouts.
Captain Faf du Plessis said
after the Lord's Test that he had never seen Morkel bowl this well, and most
Morkel was incredibly unlucky
in England, beating the bat 90-odd times in the series, and his 19-wicket haul
was nowhere near reflective of how well he bowled.
He has his pace back, is
continuously developing his skills and he is looking threatening with every
spell he bowls.
As the Proteas look to recover
from the England wobble with series against Bangladesh, India and Australia at
home coming up, Morkel's availability is key.
But the scary truth is that we
know how this ends.
A player's commitment to the
national cause is always tested when the Pound comes knocking, and all too
often it ends the same way.
Morkel turns 33 in October.
Earlier this year, he thought
that his constant struggles with a back injury had ended his international
career. He knows that he doesn't have unlimited time.
The security that would come
with a lucrative Kolpak deal is the reason the likes of Kyle Abbott and Rilee
Rossouw left, and it will no doubt be an attractive proposition to a man who
believes that his career is winding down.
But where Abbott and Rossouw,
and so many others, were uncertain of their international roles, Morkel is
bowling well enough to know that he is one of the first names on the Test team
sheet at present.
Vernon Philander is battling
fitness, Dale Steyn is not yet ready for international cricket, Duanne Olivier
looks like he still has a way to go before he can be considered a regular and
Chris Morris has also done little to suggest that he can perform as an
At the moment, Morkel and
Kagiso Rabada are leading the way.
If the Proteas were to lose
Morkel, they would feel the pinch immediately.
While there are a number of
promising young fast bowlers in the country, there are not many who can rival
the lanky 78-Test veteran right now.
It's been a battle for Morkel,
but he is finally starting to live up to the expectation that has accompanied
him for so long.
A Test average of 29.01 could
come down significantly before he has to call it a day, and at the end of it
all, that is what he will be remembered for ... not a stint at a county where
they threw some cash his way.
Nothing has been confirmed yet,
but Abbott and Rossouw taught us that where there is smoke there is fire.
Hopefully Cricket South Africa
(CSA) can come up with a way of keeping their man, and hopefully it doesn't all
come down to money.
Because if it does, then there
is likely to be one outcome.
Here's hoping that, in Morkel,
we have a guy who gets more out of representing his country than he does from
If he is one of those men, he
will be part of an increasingly rare breed.
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