Morne Morkel: The gentle giant still wreaking havoc
Morne Morkel who has been bowling at his best for the past one year was dropped for the 2nd Test match against Australia at Port Elizabeth, to satisfy the transformation quota system. The reason why he is retiring at the peak of his career when he is ripping apart batting line-ups.
He didn’t let this bog him down. He was picked for the 3rd Test against Australia at Cape Town. He did what he does best, scar the batsmen with his vicious venom-spitting deliveries. His high pace and bounce made him unplayable.
He was even more motivated for this Test as he was 3 wickets away from the super club of 300 Test wickets. It took him just 3 balls to get a wicket. He bounced out Usman Khawaja who mistimed a hook to deep fine-leg. He then bowled a snorter to get Steve Smith out caught at gully. Then Shaun Marsh edged to De Kock and became Morkel’s 300th Test wicket. Morkel celebrated animatedly as the entire team mobbed him. It was a highly emotional moment for him, the team and the fans. He waved at the enthusiastic crowd which cheered him endlessly. He took 4 wickets in the 1st innings.
In the 2nd innings, he took 5 for 14, in what was a scary spell of fast bowling and won the match for South Africa. Australia were struck by Morkel mayhem. He ended with a career-best 9 wickets in the match. He was fierce and fast. Steve Smith was unable to handle the bounce of Morkel and was out caught at gully in exactly the same manner as in the 1st innings. Morkel bounced out Mitch Marsh, Starc and Hazlewood. He bowled a savage bouncer to Cummins who had no idea where the ball was. The Australians were dancing to Morkel’s sweet chin music.
It isn’t just his outstanding bowling that Morkel is known for. But also the sportsmanship that he’s shown throughout his stellar career. A vicious bouncer from Morkel hit Starc on the head. Morkel stopped to check if Starc was okay and shook hands with him. Not many bowlers would have done that. Certainly not an Australian. Australians want broken arms (Michael Clarke). Where on earth will we find such a fantastic sportsman (Morkel) who has supreme confidence in his skill that he doesn’t feel the need to abuse people? Morkel, the true gentleman of cricket, has never uttered a word in anger, let alone sledge someone.
After he destroyed the Aussies, he enthusiastically waved at the crowd that he will not see again. “He has been a mother figure in the team, with a big heart,” Du Plessis said.
Even after doing so much he is still not sure of his place in the team for the final Test match because of the transformation targets.
Australian team needs unsavory behavior, sledging, bullying, cheating, violence to up their game and win matches. It was fitting that they were blown away by a man who has never felt the need to sledge, give ugly send-offs under the guise of aggression. His aggression is seen in his bowling. He has been a mighty presence for South Africa and cricket in general.
Take a bow Morne Morkel!