World Twenty20 2012 September 26, 2012

Morkel focussed on role as impact batsman

ESPNcricinfo staff

If anybody understands twenty-over cricket, it's Albie Morkel. The allrounder has played more matches in the shortest format than anyone else with a tally of 200, 11 more than his nearest rival David Hussey. With that has come an intimate knowledge of the strategies and tactics employed to be successful in this form of the game.

Crucially, Morkel has learnt that the little things really do matter. "If you think about the game against Sri Lanka JP Duminy scored 12 off 5 balls. In the context of the game, that made a major impact," Morkel explained.

Duminy's last over blitz took South Africa to 78 for 4 in a match reduced to seven overs, which Sri Lanka never looked likely to reach. Morkel said it's performances such as that which add to a player's value. "In the beginning of my career, I felt like a failure when I'd get 8 off 3 but once you understand the game better you know that stuff like that contributes to the game."

Morkel's role as an impact player was established at Chennai Super Kings, where he was important enough to be retained instead of being put in the auction. There, he gained a reputation for being a big-hitter at the end of an innings and one of the leading bowlers but he was not always equally indispensable to his national team. Morkel was left out of the 2011 World Cup squad and operated as a fringe player but has found a secure place for himself in the Gary Kirsten era.

He appears regularly in limited-overs side and has a more defined function, in keeping with the new structure Kirsten has brought in. "For the first time in a long time, we've got a settled T20 squad where guys have certain roles," Morkel said. "My role is definitely to give the team a kick in the batting department when we need it. And with bowling - I am not trying to hide from the big guns. I try to take them on with the ball. That gives me as a person more to concentrate on." 

Morkel, like Robin Peterson, has blossomed because he has had confidence shown in him. Instead of bowling only occasionally, he is guaranteed a couple of overs and is not expected to be the only batsmen who can win games. Morkel said knowing the big moments don't only rest on his shoulders has helped take the pressure off him and has helped the South Africa team as a whole.

"You need a good team around you," he said. "Successful teams have 11 players who can make an impact and on the day you need three or four guys to make that impact. The impact you make can be in two or three balls, it doesn't have to be in 30 or 40 balls like in fifty-over cricket. As long as you have that mindset, it doesn't matter where you make the impact."

As monsoon rains have poured themselves onto the tournament, matches have been shortened to the extent that sometimes two or three balls have decided the game. With more wet weather expected, Morkel said all teams will have to rework their gameplans for even fewer overs. "The key thing is that it doesn't become a slog fest," he said. "Guys still need to take singles and look after the new ball."

Along with the possibility of shorter matches, Morkel thinks South Africa's grouping in the Super-Eights and conditions in Colombo will also prove challenging for the team. South Africa will play Pakistan, India and Australia in their bid to reach the semi-finals. "They have all played some great cricket so it will be a tough group to qualify in," he said. "It looks like the wicket is a bit slower and will take a bit of turn. It was almost home conditions in Hambantota so we will have to adapt."

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  • Senthil on September 27, 2012, 21:06 GMT

    I really like the super hitter Albie Morkel. The first time I seen him for SA was against Ausises in 2009 ODI series after SA won their first ever test series there and G Smith injured so they opted strangely for J Botha who was never captained even his local home team until then!!! But Albie has won 2 matches on his own for Botha thus helping SA to win ODI series as well. He scored around 40 in both matches and in less then 30 balls. That made me like him and from there on he is the greatest Hitter for me in the Cricket History above all over Symonds, Pollard, Y Pathan, etc, Unlike others he can hit Six even the first ball he faces weather it is spin or Fast unlike Pollard hits Fast bowlers easily and Pathan spinners easily but both struggles against other kind of bowling. Morkel you beauty, go and show your value.

  • anton on September 27, 2012, 11:56 GMT

    They should change his batting order. He should be coming in between the 12th and 15th overs and try to bludgeon 40/50/60 runs. I feel his value to the team is completely lost when he is coming in with 7/ 8 balls to go.

  • Satish on September 27, 2012, 8:26 GMT

    @JamesTHEwalldravid : What he mentioned (Atleast the way i read is), not 8 of 3 getting in at 10th over but in 19th over. Come on mate. He clearly knows he is not going to get enough deliveries to score a 30/40 but only 5-15 balls per game unless the captain puts his money on Albie to do it. He has always been a fill in bowler who can contribute more with bat at the end overs.

  • Anand on September 27, 2012, 7:35 GMT

    Like to see Albie as a opener. He will definitely change the course of the game and will be more dangerous than sehwag or warner.

  • des on September 26, 2012, 23:13 GMT

    When one of your seam bowlers is also one of your biggest hitters it's great for the balance of the team.Very valuable player.

  • James on September 26, 2012, 20:38 GMT

    " I felt like a failure when I'd get 8 off 3 but once you understand the game better you know stuff like that contributes" This just goes to show the low standards Albie now has for himself. He is a player with great potential and I have supported his inclusion in the team on many occasions, but I got fed up with him because he kept underachieving time and again. We can all debate about with or not he was used the correct way, but the fact of the matter is that his performances in ODI especially consisted of 5-6 very expensive overs and like he said 8 off 3 balls with the bat. Once in a while he would get a quick 30 or 50 and look promising but would fail the next 5 games with the bat. Now he has convinced himself that the problem is not his performances, but merely that he did not realize how important his 8 off 3 balls was for the team! He is a much better player than that. I hope he realizes that and tries to play to his potential instead of becoming another bits n pieces player.

  • Imran on September 26, 2012, 19:47 GMT

    Let see what you do boy as you guys are not in right group. Feel sorry for all top teams in same group. But this would make it very exciting to watch though. Clash of titans.

  • Unmesh on September 26, 2012, 15:20 GMT

    This guy is one of the biggest hitters in world cricket. He doesn't take time to settle in...just whacks the balls out of the ground. Such players are invaluable in T20 cricket..especially in the end overs.

  • Dummy4 on September 26, 2012, 14:16 GMT

    one of those teams with your "second bite" will win it all windies or sl so enjoy :)

  • Cobus on September 26, 2012, 13:34 GMT

    @savageboy i feel exactly the same, why was it worth having a first round at all? The teams who won get penalised by playing the other stronger teams, this will only result in the weaker teams getting a second bite at the cherry! Can't believe this, crazy!

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