South Africa news February 15, 2017

'Was told I would never be able to play again' - Morne Morkel

ESPNcricinfo staff

Morne Morkel has not played international cricket since June 2016 © Getty Images

Morne Morkel, who is attempting to make a comeback from a back injury, has revealed he was told he would never be able to play cricket again.

"No one was 100% sure of what was going on with my back and to be honest there was a time when I was in doubt about my future‚" Morkel told Times Live while training with his franchise Titans ahead of their Momentum One-Day Cup match against Dolphins on Friday.

"I was told that I would never be able to play cricket again and it was a mental thing to go to the gym. One doctor actually told me that my days as a player were numbered which was not a nice thing to hear."

Having ignored that prognosis and sought other doctors' advice, Morkel has now recovered fully and hopes to rule himself fit for the Test-match leg of South Africa's tour of New Zealand. Having last played international cricket in June 2016 and any cricket since a tour game in Melbourne November, he will begin his comeback with the Momentum One-Day Cup.

In addition, Morkel is not making himself available for the IPL, in a bid to be at full fitness for South Africa's tour of England later this year.

Meanwhile, Vernon Philander, who has been battling a minor ankle impingement, is also going to be in action during the one-day cup. Philander is available for Cobras and will be closely watched by the national selectors after bowling coach Charl Langeveldt suggested he could be the new-ball bowler South Africa's one-day outfit is looking for.

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  • MaraudingJ on February 17, 2017, 22:10 GMT

    It would be really nice if someone - anyone - would actually bother to explain Morkel's injury in an article one of these days. "Back injury" is incredibly vague. If this condition threatened to end the career of one of South Africa's best ever cross-format bowlers, surely it's newsworthy enough to provide a description or diagnosis once in a while. We know when his teammates break shoulders (Steyn) or split fingers and require stitches (Miller) or rupture an Achilles for virtually no reason at all (Duminy) - why is Morkel's injury, which now appears to be even more serious, such a secret?

  • Cricinfouser on February 16, 2017, 22:22 GMT

    great. Philander in and Andile out to balance quota. Philander is much better bolwer. Now we can win a world cup. de Kock. Amla. Faf. AB. Duminy. Miller. Morris/Steyn(if fully recoved and performing). Parnell/Pretorious. Philander. Rabada. Tahir.

  • Proteafanfrom JHB on February 16, 2017, 11:01 GMT

    Great bowler. Although there are some talented youngsters in the team, I do believe there is still a place for Morne. Certain conditions will suite his bowling better than anyone. We should pick players on form and according to the conditions.

  • lolt20underH2O on February 16, 2017, 10:48 GMT

    Best of luck to another who's made great contributions to SA cricket, he'll need it especially with a quota system. 2 wrongs do not make a right.

  • dillyk on February 16, 2017, 8:41 GMT

    Glad you persevered Morne, great person and a great cricketer. As a test bowler he has probably under performed, but he still has a very decent test record and can always produce vital wicket taking balls on flat tracks. But as a short format bowler he is one of the best pacers in the world, and has the ODI and t20 record to prove it. His back of a length areas are very difficult to get away with his pace and bounce. In the ODI setup he is the perfect new ball partner for Rabada. As they can then also both close out an innings at the end as well.

  • diri on February 16, 2017, 7:17 GMT

    He under achieved. He had the potential to be greater than Steyn. He just doesn't have the aggression of cricketing brain . The gentle giant.

  • Jouba on February 16, 2017, 5:57 GMT

    Morkel is a very good bowler. His natural back of a length delivery will almost never hit the stumps or get lbw's, but he makes it difficult for batsmen to score and batsmen then take chances with other bowlers and the other bowlers end up getting the wickets and the credit. He might be old but with all the young fast bowlers around in SA, they would be silly to not include him in squads as a backup bowler and also a mentor for the younger guys.

  • cricfan92660861 on February 16, 2017, 5:45 GMT

    It is time to look forward rather than taking chance with injury prone fast bowler this happening time & time again , better to go for young , fit fast bowler who is having long time prospect rather than short time gain

  • Lakpj on February 16, 2017, 3:47 GMT

    he is a great bowler on his day, but not very consistent. with SA investing more on youth I can't see a comeback soon. i think Rabada needs to be taken care of well. he is still young and the next big thing in SA cricket. if not he too would be in the injured list.

  • Unnikuttan on February 16, 2017, 3:04 GMT

    if Morne were in india he'd be wrapped in cotton wool and his workload would have been balanced

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