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Morne Morkel

'Losing to New Zealand in the World Cup was the saddest day'

Morne Morkel on sibling rivalry, big-match nerves, the disappointment of defeat, and more

Interview by Sharda Ugra

June 24, 2012

Comments: 9 | Text size: A | A

Morne Morkel and Albie Morkel chat during training, Chennai, June 8, 2007
Who's taller now, bro? © AFP
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Players/Officials: Morne Morkel
Teams: South Africa

First fight with Albie
In childhood, in the backyard. We had a lot of rugby and cricket games in that backyard and fought quite a lot - you know, when you think you're not out and they think you are. When I was younger, around 10-11 years old, he had things going much for him. I'm the baby in the family, so I pulled the short straw. Now the tables have turned. I'm 6ft 5in and Albie's a bit shorter.

First hat-trick
The earliest one I remember was in school. I took quite a few then. Unfortunately not on the international scene - I've been on hat-tricks at several points but it's not happened. I remember the first for my primary school: there was an over where they needed two runs in the last over to win and there were four batters to come. I took a hat-trick, bowled a dot ball and then took another wicket, so it was a four-wicket maiden, basically.

First case of fast bowler's nerves
I think just before I made my debut for South Africa. I played for South Africa A when India toured here. I had only played a handful of first-class games at the time I was picked for the A side in Potchefsroom. That day, they were all playing - Sehwag, Tendulkar, all the big five. I remember opening the bowling and I was very, very nervous because that was the first time I'd seen these guys face to face. That day, bowling that first over to Sehwag was probably when I was the most nervous in my life. Luckily I ended up taking four-five wickets. And it was funny how it worked out. Dale [Steyn] got injured for the first Test and I got pulled into the Test squad.

First sporting heroes
In cricket terms, when I was younger, guys like Glenn McGrath, Shaun Pollock. Currently, I look up to Charl Schwartzel, the golfer. I went to school with Charl. It's amazing to see how he's grown now. He's played a lot of golf and his mental attitude to the game is unbelievable. Nowadays I tend to drift away from cricketing heroes, but find a guy in a different sport and try to find mental toughness more than many things. So I'm very impressed by guys like Rafa Nadal. They are just inspirational. How they can go on for sets - for me, that's inspiring.

First time I cried on a cricket field
There's a couple of times. Every time you lose a game for your country, a lot of people, especially back home in SA, see it as just another loss. The sort of stuff that comes in the media is sometimes hard. It saddens me, and the way they make it out like we've just like choked or those sorts of things... We actually go out there and try to give our best in every game. The way sometimes people see it is sad. The World Cup match we lost against New Zealand was a sad day. That was so far probably the saddest day for me.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Lovedegame on (June 25, 2012, 15:16 GMT)

Gentle giant, under statement, great guy

Posted by Vilander on (June 25, 2012, 11:12 GMT)

When you guys finally lift the cup, the feeling of euphoria would be so huge. it would be worth the wait. Keep fighting hard Morne, ps: Your older bro has more fans because of CSK :)

Posted by   on (June 25, 2012, 1:21 GMT)

South Africa has no unity to win a World Cup or a Coffee Cup.

Posted by Nadeem1976 on (June 25, 2012, 0:15 GMT)

i think SA needs to believe in themselves and they will win next WC under AB. I believe AB is perfect anti-chock and he will win next WC with current SA team.

Posted by svenkat02 on (June 24, 2012, 22:46 GMT)

Its sad that people talk about SA like that... After India, the team that I respect 2nd is South Africa. Whenever India face South Africa, the fans get the feeling as if they are facing a very tough contest. Aussies and England dont give the same feeling although they have been top teams before. The aggression displayed by SA has been the best... If not India, my 2nd preference to lift the 2015 WC is South Africa...

Posted by   on (June 24, 2012, 15:49 GMT)

SA will never ever win a wc or tea cup, never, not in our life times,

Posted by HadleeCrowe on (June 24, 2012, 6:21 GMT)

his saddest day was my abiding sporting memory of last year .... better than the rwcup win

Posted by   on (June 24, 2012, 4:58 GMT)

Don't worry Morne..our team capable number.1 team in the world cricket..mark my words 2015 world cup ours..best is yet to come

Posted by Pinarsh255 on (June 24, 2012, 4:43 GMT)

first i thought he is a test match bowler like siddle(big hearted, steep bounce,chest on action), but now the way he is performing in limited over formats he is surely a legend in making

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