Cape Town - Albie Morkel, back in the Proteas’ side after several injury setbacks, claimed his cricketing ability has probably levelled out over the years, but his approach to the game has improved.
“I’m the same guy but with a better mental attitude,” said Morkel on Monday in Cape Town.
“I’ve gone back and forth for various reasons, through injury and lack of form but my mental attitude is the most important thing.”
Morkel, who underwent an appendix operation a few months ago, is part of the South African one-day international (ODI) squad which gathered in the Mother City, in preparation for the first of five 50-over games which will be played at Paarl on Wednesday.
He played a huge role in the Titans’ 202-run victory over the Warriors on Sunday, scoring a century, a half-century and taking five wickets in the match.
“I’m back in the SA side because of an injury to Dean Elgar but I’ve worked hard for it,” Morkel said.
“I’ve scored the runs and taken the wickets for the Titans at the right time, so I’m happy to be back and hope I can make a contribution.”
The all-rounder said he was expecting the wickets at Paarl and in Kimberley (where the fourth ODI will be played) to be slow and take a bit of turn which would probably suit the visiting team.
“The Sri Lankans played in a world cup final not so long ago. So we know they’re a strong one-day side and the venues (Paarl and Kimberley) will suit their style of play.”
Their squad has also been boosted by one-day specialists arriving for the series, most notably Lasith “Slinga” Malinga, the right-arm fast bowler with a rare round-arm action.
“Malinga is a handful with the new ball and the older ball but, playing off two new balls, it will be interesting to see how he changes his style of play because he was very dangerous when the ball was reversing.”
Morkel had plenty of confidence in his own team’s ability though and hoped it augured well for an exciting series.
“South Africa have played some good cricket too, so hopefully the series will be full of runs and full of highlights.
“AB [de Villiers] will do a great job as the new captain - he’s on top of his own game so he can lead from the front.
“I’m looking forward to see how he develops as a captain. Graeme [Smith] did a fantastic job and he and Jacques Kallis are still there so I’m sure they’ll help AB a lot. I think he’s the right man for the job.”
With most of the players coming off a three-Test series and the remaining members of the ODI squad having been involved in franchise cricket, Morkel said they were all match fit and raring to go.
“The team is hungry to perform, and hungry to put the Sri Lankans away.”