Category Archives: Morne Morkel

SA Contracted Cricketers

Cricket South Africa have released their contracted platyers for the coming year, a big congratulations to Lonwabo Tsotsobe a thoroughly deserved inclusion. Those who have fallen out of favour include Andre Nel, Monde Zondeki and Robin Peterson.

The focus is on the Australians and kicks off on Thursday for the first test.

Contracted players: (from May 2009 to April 2010) Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla, Johan Botha, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Herschelle Gibbs, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Neil McKenzie, Albie Morkel, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Ashwell Prince, Dale Steyn, Lonwabo Tsotsobe.

Titans Squad for Champions League

Albie Morkel, as expected is not available for the Titans and will be representing the Chennai Super Kings

Pierre Joubert (captain), Farhaan Behardien, Gulam Bodi, AB de Villiers, Francois du Plessis, Paul Harris, Heino Kuhn, Ethy Mbhalati, Morne Morkel, Aaron Phangiso, Dale Steyn, Imran Tahir, Roelof van der Merwe, Martin van Jaarsveld, Basheer Walters.

South Africa vs. England 1st Test – Lords

Yesterday many would have never believed the test would start on time. A months worth of rain fell in parts of England Yesterday, the rain didn’t abate until late in the night. However this morning the sun greeted those that woke up early, although there are some clouds about.

England have named an unchanged side, consisting of: 1 Alastair Cook, 2 Andrew Strauss, 3 Michael Vaughan (capt), 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Paul Collingwood, 7 Tim Ambrose (wk), 8 Stuart Broad, 9 Ryan Sidebottom, 10 Monty Panesar, 11 James Anderson. This side has set a world record in that it has been unchanged side for the sixth successive match.

South Africa have delayed naming their side until the start, leaving the choice of whether to field Paul Harris or a 4th seamer as a mystery to England. The possible side is: 1 Graeme Smith (capt), 2 Neil McKenzie, 3 Hashim Amla, 4 Jacques Kallis, 5 Ashwell Prince, 6 AB de Villiers, 7 Mark Boucher (wk), 8 Morne Morkel, 9 Paul Harris, 10 Dale Steyn, 11 Makhaya Ntini

The players to watch out for in this series from South Africa are: Morne Morkel and Hashim Amla. South Africa have now got a settled pace attack with Ntini and Steyn being key performers and they are expected to be dangerous, however Morkel is a an unknown entity. Recently back from injury, a solid performance with the ball and possibly the bat could be the extra gear South Africa needs. On the batting side, Smith Mckenzie, Kallis, De Villiers and Prince have all contributed this summer as has Amla, however Amla has shown some fantastic warm up match form,  scoring 172 and 161 which has sent out a strong message to the English that he means business. If he can continue this run of form, South Africa will be very difficult to beat. However if he fails, South Africa could be in trouble as McKenzie and Smith could be in trouble early and the last thing SA needs is to be 30/2 in the first test.

England’s players to watch will be James Anderson  and Ian Bell. South Africa have come out and said they will be targeting Bell and Collingwood who have had a poor run recently. Bell needs to perform and if Anderson can produce some of the glimpses of form shown this season, he could help rip through the South African batting. I don’t think Sidebottom is good enough to tear apart the South African attack and he might get punished by Smith if he is not accurate.

The match should set off an absolute corker of a series in which South Africa will be looking for their first win on English turf since re-admission in 2002

IPL Squads and previews – Indian Premier League

The Indian Premier League (IPL) starts today after the opening ceremony that is expected to be amazing. This is by far the biggest event organised and should bring a new edge to the way cricket is perceived by the world. It would be crazy to think the bowlers will have any assistance with the pitches, the focus of the series will be as many runs as possible. The sides with mediocre bowling attacks will be slaughtered, the spinners will pick up most of the wickets from good balls or bad shots by the batsman, and will also be heavily targeted.

There are eight different sides and below is a brief review of each team.

Bangalore Royal Challengers

The second most expensive in the IPL, coached by Venkatesh Prasad has acquired 3 South Africans, Jacques Kallis, Dale Steyn and Mark Boucher. They have picked a squad full of devastating bowlers, Steyn, Khan, Kumble and Bracken are where their fortunes will lie. Good performances here and they will be a handful.

Squad: Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Jacques Kallis, Zaheer Khan, Cameron White, Wasim Jaffer, Dale Steyn, Nathan Bracken, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Mark Boucher, Misbah-ul-Haq, Ross Taylor, Abdur Razzak, KP Appanna, Balachandra Akhil, Jagadeesh Arunkumar, Bharat Chipli, Shreevats Goswami, Sunil Joshi, Virat Kohli, Praveen Kumar, Devraj Patil, Vinay Kumar.
Chennai Super Kings

Coached by Kepler Wessels, the side has some great entertainers in the form of Dhoni, Hayden, Oram and Morkel should have the crowds going. Their bowling line-up looks a little weak, but Muralitharan could be a handful.

Squad: MS Dhoni, Matthew Hayden, Stephen Fleming, Mike Hussey, Jacob Oram, Makhaya Ntini, Muttiah Muralitharan, Albie Morkel, Joginder Sharma, Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel, Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan, Abhinav Mukund, Suresh Kumar, Arun Karthik, Shadab Jakati, Napoleon Einstein, Subramaniam Badrinath, Lakshmipathy Balaji, R Ashwin, Srikkanth Anirudha, Viraj Vilas Kadbe, Palani Amarnath, Manpreet Gony.

Kings XI Punjab

Tom moody is the coach. The side is full on India’s stars, but have the pace of Brett Lee and the experience of Simon Katich. The side should get a lot of supporters.

Squad: Yuvraj Singh, Irfan Pathan, Ramesh Powar, Sreesanth, James Hopes, Simon Katich, Brett Lee, Shaun Marsh, Luke Pomersbach, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Kyle Mills, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Ajitesh Argal, Piyush Chawla, Pankaj Dharmani, Rishi Dhawan, Karan Goel, Uday Kaul, Sahil Kukreja, Wilkin Mota, Nitin Saini, Vikram Singh, Sunny Sohal, Tanmay Srivastava

Deccan Chargers

Robin Singh is the coach. Possibly the most explosive batting side, with Symonds, Afridi, Gilchrist and Gibbs in the side they can beat any side if the batters fire. The bowling side is looking a bit light, but should be strong contenders for the title.

Squad: VVS Laxman, Sanjay Bangar, Halhadar Das, Herschelle Gibbs, Adam Gilchrist, Doddapaneni Kalyankrishna, Pragyan Ojha, Dwaraka Ravi Teja, Sarvesh Kumar, Shahid Afridi, Rohit Sharma, Chamara Silva, RP Singh, Scott Styris, Andrew Symonds, Chaminda Vaas, Venugopal Rao, Paidikalva Vijaykumar, Arjun Yadav, Nuwan Zoysa.

Rajasthan Royals

Coached and captained by Shane Warne. The cheapest purchase out of all the teams costing $67 million, has picked up some great players in the form of Sohail Tanvir and Morne Morkel. Both players can hit some big shots and will be vital at the end of the innings. Certainly a side that can surprise with Warne in charge. When Graeme Smith joins the side he could improve their chances.

Squad: Shane Warne, Aditya Angle, Swapnil Asnodkar, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammad Kaif, Kamran Akmal, Sumit Khatri, Taruwar Kohli, Darren Lehmann, Dimitri Mascarenhas, Parag More, Morne Morkel, Pankaj Singh, Munaf Patel, Niraj Patel, Yusuf Pathan, Mahesh Rawat, Anup Revandkar, Dinesh Salunke, Jaydev Shah, Graeme Smith, Sohail Tanvir, Siddharth Trivedi, Shane Watson, Younis Khan.

Kolkata Knight Riders

Coached by John Buchanan who has had great success with the Australian national side. More exciting players – with a very aggressive top order, but looks like they are lacking in quality players when the international commitments rob them of their star players.

Squad: Sourav Ganguly, Ishant Sharma, Murali Kartik, Ajit Agarkar, Chris Gayle, Ricky Ponting, David Hussey, Brendon McCullum, Mohammad Hafeez, Salman Butt, Umar Gul, Tatenda Taibu, Laxmi Shukla, Saurasish Lahiri, Siddarth Kaul, Iqbal Abdulla, Wriddhiman Prasanta Saha, Rohan Banerjee, Yashpal Singh, Aakash Chopra, Debabrata Das, Cheteshwar Pujara.

Mumbai Indians

Coached by Lalchand Rajput. The most expensive side in the competition, bought for $111.9 million. They have players that will attract fans and certainly one of the strongest sides on paper.

Squad: Sachin Tendulkar, Loots Bosman, Ankeet Chavan, Siddharth Chitnis, Gaurav Dhiman, Dilhara Fernando, Harbhajan Singh, Sanath Jayasuriya, Musavir Khote, Dhawal Kulkarni, Lasith Malinga Abhishek Nayar, Ashish Nehra, Manish Pandey, Rajesh Pawar, Shaun Pollock, Ashwell Prince, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohan Raje, Luke Ronchi, Pinal Shah, Swapnil Singh, Yogesh Vijay Takawale, Dominic Thornely, Saurabh Tiwary, Robin Uthappa, Vikrant Yeligati.

Delhi Daredevils

Coached by Greg Shipperd. Glenn McGrath should be a good acquisition and the amount of all rounders could prove interesting

Squad: Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Manoj Tiwary, Mohammad Asif, Daniel Vettori, Dinesh Karthik, Shoaib Malik, Glenn McGrath, AB de Villiers, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Farveez Maharoof, Rajat Bhatia, Shikhar Dhawan, Brett Geeves, Yo Mahesh, Mithun Manhas, Pradeep Sangwan, Mayank Tehlan.

SA Squad for India

Graeme Smith (captain), Ashwell Prince (vice-captain), Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, JP Duminy, Paul Harris, Jacques Kallis, Charl Langeveldt, Neil McKenzie, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Robin Peterson and Dale Steyn.

The team has seen Andre Nel threaten to quit SA cricket (see more here) after being dropped for Charl Langeveldt. There is a lot more to it than his childish but understandable outburst about being dropped. He has been an integral part of the test setup this season edging out the legendary Shaun Pollock, no mean feat and something difficult to comprehend for the experts and casual followers. However if you saw him bowling against West Indies you will remember that he justified his inclusion in the side.

It is clear that the selectors who picked a squad of only FOUR players of colour for the Bangladesh tour (Peterson replaced Harris who was injured) when six was the target have now been instructed to pick a squad of six players of colour. Another clear message came from the 2nd test in Bangladesh where Botha had done nothing wrong to be dropped, yet he was dropped for Peterson which ensured the side had four players of colour.

I am still trying to figure out why there must be 6 players of colour in the squad if only 4 will play. In the current line-up which wont change much from the last few test the team has been made up of: Graeme Smith (captain), Ashwell Prince (vice-captain), Hashim Amla, Mark Boucher, AB de Villiers, Neil McKenzie, Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini, Jacques Kallis and Dale Steyn.

This means that either Charl Langeveldt, Robin Peterson, JP Duminy or Paul Harris (if fit) will make up the last spot. If Harris is chosen which is more than likely, the squad will have to adapt, with the possibility of Morkel making way for Langeveldt/Peterson or McKenzie dropped for Duminy.

Andre Nel has had a good tour of Bangladesh and clearly was not impressed by the omission. The bottom line is the selectors have put their heads together and believe that Morkel is a better bowler than Nel, and thus he is left out. For quota reasons Ntini wont be dropped (nor should he be for any reason)

If you had to say which player of colour would be the first one to be picked out of the ODI squad, most people would have gone with Herschelle Gibbs ahead of Langeveldt. This is a clear sign to Gibbs to get his act together if he wants a place in the team to England in June.

Peterson bowled himself into contention picking up  5-33 in the second innings of the second test. That said we now have two spinners who are left arm orthodox, instead of Botha who would add another dimension to the team.

It is the toughest challenge yet for SA in this season, facing an Indian side that could have easily won the Test series against Australia and ended off on a high note. It will take another monster effort from the worlds best bowler, certainly most destructive bowler Dale Steyn and a massive performance from the inexperienced Morkel to give SA a chance of completing a clean sweep of the season. With a fragile top order on the batting front, it will be a remarkable series victory.