England in South Africa 2009-10 November 17, 2009

Simons questions Albie Morkel's role at No 6

Cricinfo staff

Eric Simons, the former South Africa coach, has questioned the role Albie Morkel fills in the team because he focuses too much on scoring boundaries instead of picking singles. Simons was of the opinion that Morkel was not convincing enough to keep his place as a No.6 batsman.

"Albie is the greatest concern [in the South African line-up]," he told iafrica.com. "I'm not sure he has defined his role in the team and what he's going to be doing. I disagree with Albie at six. I don't think he can bat up the order.

"If you look at the stats, most of Morkel's runs are scored in boundaries and that's his problem. I don't think he has the ability to rotate the strike. If they do pick him at six then I think it's a mistake because it will be a long time before he can develop into someone who can rotate the strike like a number six needs to."

The hard-hitting Morkel was a big success on the tour of Australia earlier this year with his boundary hitting in the Powerplay overs towards the end of the innings which made the difference. His bowling gives South Africa the option of playing him as the fourth seamer but Simons was not convinced about that. Morkel was smashed for 32 off his two overs in the second Twenty20 against England in Centurion.

Simons felt that South Africa would be better off in picking specialists instead of utility cricketers like Morkel. "We have Jacques Kallis and JP Duminy in the top order, both of whom can bowl," he said. "Now you've got a situation where you have got to pick your best number six batsman. Are they saying that Albie Morkel is the best number six batsmen in the country? I'm not so sure about it.

"Some teams like New Zealand have to use utility players because they don't have the skill level. "We don't have to do that. We must pick our best."