Morkel brothers share top honour
Albie and Morne Morkel have become the first brothers in 56 years to be named as South African Cricket Annual Cricketers of the Year in the same season. The Morkels won the award for 2008 along with Monde Zondeki, Johan Botha and Dillon du Preez, who were revealed as the five recipients in Johannesburg on Monday.
The last brothers to receive the honour in the same year were Athol and Eric Rowan in 1952 - the first time the awards were presented. Other sets of siblings to have been handed the title, although in different years, include Graeme and Peter Pollock, Peter and Gary Kirsten, and Peter and Robbie Muzzell.
The allrounder Albie Morkel has spent much of the past season trying to establish himself in South Africa's ODI side as a potential successor to Lance Klusener and Shaun Pollock. He also had a productive time in the IPL, where he averaged 34.41 with the bat and collected 17 wickets to help the Chennai Super Kings reach the final.
His younger brother Morne Morkel has taken a more conventional path to success over the past year as he became a key member of South Africa's Test fast-bowling attack. He was South Africa's leading wicket-taker in the Test series win in England, where he collected 15 wickets at 33.46.
Botha, the offspinning allrounder, was rewarded for a season during which he was a consistent contributor in South Africa's one-day team and earned the vice-captaincy of the side for their upcoming matches. The progress was particularly pleasing for Botha after he reworked his bowling action having been reported during January 2006.
Zondeki and du Preez were recognised for being the leading wicket-takers during the domestic season. du Preez eventually finished just in front with 55 wickets at 16.90 as he helped the Eagles to the SuperSport Series title.
Zondeki picked up five five-wicket hauls in his collection of 54 victims for the Cape Cobras. Also a strong contributor for South Africa A, Zondeki was rewarded with call-ups in the national squad for the tours of India and England.