Champions Trophy 2017 May 30, 2017

Morkel's place not certain, says Domingo

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South Africa may be willing to bench their most experienced bowler, Morne Morkel, in the Champions Trophy, in favor of an allrounder and a shorter tail. Morkel, who was included in the squad despite not having played an ODI since June 2016, made his comeback on Monday, and bowled four overs at first change without taking any wickets.

Although coach Russell Domingo was pleased to have the seamer back, he admitted there may not always be room for him. "It's a catch-22 situation because having Morne there might strengthen our bowling, it gives us more of a tail not having the three allrounders," Domingo said. "It's his first one-day international for a while and it's good to have him back. He's had a long-term injury layoff, and the bowlers that have played in his place have done really well."

The game Morkel played in was the only one that South Africa could win in the series against England, though he cannot claim to be the reason for their success. It was Kagiso Rabada, the new No. 1-ranked bowler in ODIs, and Wayne Parnell who reduced England to 20 for 6 in five overs. They appear to be the first-choice new-ball pair.

Parnell has been the most successful partner to Rabada in the 13 ODIs played after Kyle Abbott's international retirement, effectively pushing other options down the queue. Those include Chris Morris, Dwaine Pretorius and Andile Phehlukwayo - all big-hitting allrounders, who South Africa hope can add late runs on pitches that are expected to produce big totals. England batted first on such surfaces in the first two ODIs and put up 339 and 330.

Domingo expects conditions to be batting-friendly in the Champions Trophy as well because that suits the hosts' current style of play. "That's the way England bat at times - if there is something in the wicket, and you land the ball in the right areas and they nick the ball, you've got a chance against them because they play that expansive brand of cricket. On flatter wickets, they're going to be hell of a dangerous," he said. "But the bowlers will always have a chance against them when there's something in the wicket because of the way they're going about their batting at the moment."

South Africa will not meet England in the group stage of the Champions Trophy, where they are pooled with Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan, but could come up against them in the knockouts, where England will hold the psychological advantage having won the series 2-1. Still, South Africa were pleased with their preparation leading into their opening game against Sri Lanka at the Oval on Saturday. "There were a lot of benefits and positives that we can take forward into the Champions Trophy so we're pretty happy with the way things have panned out for us," Domingo said.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • WCSWART on June 1, 2017, 13:05 GMT

    Yes, there may not be place for Morkel who has an amazing strike rate in ODI's for South Africa. The reason we need three allrounders is due to the fact that our tail starts with JP Duminy (AND THERE IS ALWAYS PLACE IN THE TEAM FOR JP!) Get real Domingo. Just for interest sake, why would you select a player, that over a ODI career averages only 20 as a batsmen against England, and 17 as a batsman against England in England, to even be on tour in England?????

  • Brokensaint on June 1, 2017, 11:31 GMT

    Lol vultures you don't want to get into the argument but yet you do. parnell is in better form than duminy and behardien but taking Parnells mentality and frailness in pressure situations I would rather go with andile. parnell goes at well over 5 per over and if there is no swing he is highly ineffective. andile or even better Pretorius is of much more wortg

  • aditya.goel07 on June 1, 2017, 9:10 GMT

    England are rubbish when the ball starts to swing, seam or spin. They can only play on roads, as we saw in the first 2 games of the SA series recently concluded. When they got a greenish track at Lords, excuses started coming out, not to forget the absolute filth that the batsmen dished out. Just think England, if you come up against Australia on such a surface, what can transpire. Heck, now you don't even have Jonny Bairstow to bail you out.

  • HectorHales on June 1, 2017, 5:36 GMT

    Must be, as he was out of the side for a year. He needs time to get hos rhythm back. But not bowling, South Africa chokes in batting mostly, no matter how brilliant their batters are. Taking more all-rounders down the order can have two aspects though:- A. Their top order can play more freely assuming there are players down the order to jump on in case something goes wrong. or, B: Their top order plays recklessly considering there are people down the order to hold the fort if required.

    In this tournament, be ready for big chases or post big. They have everything there but need proper execution.

  • People_Vultures on May 31, 2017, 14:07 GMT

    @Azurite: you'll see I began by saying I think Morkel should play. Which means I am not judging him on the basis of his last three games, but his overall record. Bringing batting into it is pointless because even the most rabid anti-Parnell SA supporter will admit that Morkel is a dodgy batsman, despite some natural talent for striking the ball cleanly. The point of my post was to say Parnell has actually been doing a pretty decent job in the last year, that's all. And that he has actually been playing, as opposed to big Morne. People like to make out that Parnell has done nothing, which is based on previous years.

  • Azurite on May 31, 2017, 13:44 GMT

    @CRICMAN007. SA has 4 batsmen in the top 10 in the ODI rankings. If those and Miller and JP cannot score runs then the team deserve to lose.

  • Azurite on May 31, 2017, 13:41 GMT

    @People_Vultures. But you forgot to mention Morkel scored 32* in the only time he batted during those 3 games and Parnell got an equal 35 as highest whilst averaging only 18 in his 17 games. You cannot judge Morkel in 3 games only. Morkel has a far superior record (better average and economy rate) as bowler than Parnell who has played 63 games already. The reason for omitting Morkel nothing but is qoutas and not about playing the best team or winning the trophy.

  • People_Vultures on May 31, 2017, 12:53 GMT

    @Brokensaint: I don't really want to get into an argument because I think Morkel should play as the bowler with the most experience, but in the last year alone Morkel has taken one wicket from 3 games (injuries etc.), while Parnell has 29 wickets from 17 matches. Economy less than a run a ball. Objectively, that is a good performance from Parnell. Their reasoning is not all about giving someone a free ride.

  • Brokensaint on May 31, 2017, 12:20 GMT

    Domingo already preparing the fans for Parnells and duminys selection above a much more celebrated bowler in morkel. in odis you need wickets

  • Saulben on May 31, 2017, 12:10 GMT

    hey 007, if SA are 20 for 6... what is the combo of parnell/pehlukwayo/pretoruis going to do as lower order batsmen? given that morris is a shoo in at 7 and rabada and tahir take 10 and 11, i feel only one of the Ps should play at a time, none of them deserve a bowling spot ahead of morkel, and none of them bat well enough (although thats TBC for lucky and pretorius) to warrant a proper all rounder spot. Hash, QDK, Faf, AB, JP(or FB, neither are very impressive, hell stick maharaj in here for a laugh), Miller, Morris, (P) Rabada, morkel, tahir. should be our standard 11 based on this squad.

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