Morkel to seek clarity on his future with Proteas coach Gibson

09 October 2017 - 14:54 By Telford Vice
South Africa senior men's cricket team head coach Ottis Gibson tosses the ball to fast bowler Morne Morkel during the Proteas's training session and press conference at Senwes Park on September 27, 2017 in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
South Africa senior men's cricket team head coach Ottis Gibson tosses the ball to fast bowler Morne Morkel during the Proteas's training session and press conference at Senwes Park on September 27, 2017 in Potchefstroom, South Africa.
Image: Lee Warren/Gallo Images

Morne Morkel and Ottis Gibson need to talk‚ again. And this time they need to get down to brass tacks about the 2019 World Cup or as close as they can get considering the tournament is almost two years away.

And this time they need to get down to brass tacks about the 2019 World Cup or as close as they can get considering the tournament is almost two years away.

Morkel said last month that “one of the conversations” he would have with South Africa’s new coach would be to establish “where I fit in with white-ball cricket‚ and if there are any plans for me in 2019”.

The two have spoken‚ but Gibson said on Sunday the World Cup conversation had yet to be had.

“I absolutely didn’t tell him anything about the World Cup because it’s still so far away‚” Gibson said.

“I’d encourage him to keep enjoying his cricket‚ which he’s been doing before he got injured.

“I’ve had a few conversations with him. We haven’t really had a face-to-face yet but that will happen.”

Communication between Morkel and Gibson won’t have been helped by the fast bowler’s sidelining for up to six weeks by the torn side he suffered during the first test against Bangladesh in Potchefstroom last week.

Doubtless they will get down to business‚ but that should happen sooner rather than later because Morkel has suggested he would put himself on the Kolpak market if he is not part of South Africa’s World Cup blueprint.

It’s complicated because Morkel turned 33 on Friday and his latest injury follows almost a year on the sidelines with a back problem and South Africa are not short of quality quicks.

But‚ since returning‚ he has been‚ according to Faf du Plessis last week‚ “at his best ever”.

Morkel bowled with pace‚ aggression and consistency to be South Africa’s leading wicket-taker in the test series in England this winter.

He delivered more of the same to claim match figures of 4/70 before he was injured in Potch.

Pertinently‚ Morkel was easily the best of South Africa’s seamers in the Champions Trophy in England in June when he took five wickets at 17.40 and had an economy rate of 4.35.

No player can expect a guarantee of his involvement in a tournament two years from now.

Perhaps all Morkel is after is an assurance that‚ if fit and in form‚ he will be an important part of South Africa’s one-day plans leading up to the World Cup and all players deserve no less.

Happily‚ other aspects of Gibson’s first three weeks in the job have been less complex than all that.

Two matches into his tenure‚ and with two emphatic victories to his name‚ he likes what he sees.

“The lads played really well and deserved to win‚” Gibson said after his team sealed a 2-0 test series win over the Bangladeshis in Bloemfontein.

South Africa‚ who won the Potch test by 333 runs‚ surged to victory by an innings and 254 runs with more than two days to spare.

“Everybody said ‘easy series’ but you still have to go and play cricket‚” Gibson said.

“We’re very pleased with the cricket we played and I said to the players that if you believe the opposition isn’t that good‚ you must play to a specific standard and we played to a very high standard.”

Gibson‚ who came to South Africa after serving as England’s bowling coach‚ saw some of his charges in action for the first time in Potch and Bloem.

He would have watched Duanne Olivier on South Africa’s tour to England‚ but has a better idea of what the fast bowler can do after his aggressive performance in Bloem — where he took four wickets in the match and put Mushfiqur Rahim in hospital with a bouncer to the helmet.

“When you ask a guy to do something‚ can he do it? And [Olivier] did exactly what he was asked to do.

“Andile [Phehlukwayo‚ who made his debut in Potch and took 3/36 in the second innings in Bloem] was the same.

“If you’re going to come in as a fourth seamer‚ you need to control your length. I thought he did that and deserved his wickets.”

Might Gibson‚ a fast bowler himself in his playing days‚ want to claim the credit for that success?

“Absolutely not. I was sitting having cups of tea while they were bowling so it’s all down to them.”

Kagiso Rabada was the star of South Africa’s bowling show with his match haul of 10/63.

“The thing I like about him is that he’s very open to learning‚” Gibson said.

“You can see it every time on the field. Sometimes in the morning I mention some things to him‚ expecting him to do it later on‚ and then he starts doing it immediately after I’ve walked away.


ANC Conference 2017
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