As one of the most effective fast bowlers in the world, Morne Morkel is a cricketer who can provide 4 solid overs to any T20 team against any batting attack, anywhere in the world. Over the past few seasons there has been ample proof of that. In the inaugural editions of the IPL he played for the Rajasthan Royals with sporadic regularity and success, but once he was picked up by the Delhi Daredevils, he reveled in the role of the pace spearhead and destroyed plenty of batting line ups with breathtaking regularity. In addition to that, he can be a handy lower order slogger as well if the team ever needs quick runs after a fall of a few wickets.
Morne Morkel is a good old fashioned fast bowler whose primary task is to rattle the opening batsmen with searing pace, accuracy, bounce, seam and swing. As a bowler he has all the desirable qualities and due to his towering height (6ft 6in) he can extract a disconcerting bounce from even dead Indian pitches. The same attribute also gives him the ability to bowl almost unplayable yorkers during death overs. He is quite clearly everything a team might demand from a spearhead and over the years he has succeeded in playing that role perfectly.
After playing only 4 games for the Rajasthan Royals, Morkel was picked up by the Delhi Daredevils for $475,000. Considering the fact that Umesh Yadav was bought by the Daredevils for $750,000 in the same auction, it must be said that they got Morkel at a bargain. In retrospect it has turned into one of the best bargains in the IPL considering the huge impact he has on any match that the Delhi Daredevils end up winning. As a matter of fact his stellar performance in IPL 5 was one of the reasons why the Daredevils ended up as table toppers. Morkel ended up as the highest wicket taker in that edition with an astonishing 25 wickets in 16 games.
Morkel’s best performance till date remains the 4/20 he took against the Kings XI Punjab in IPL 5. However, it was the performance against the Rajasthan Royals in an away game at Jaipur that correctly highlighted his value as a top level game changer. The Royals were well on their way to a win against the Daredevils as Ajinkya Rahane and Brad Hodge looked certain to knock off 15 runs in 12 deliveries, with 8 wickets in hand. However, the game turned on its head when Morkel bowled an outstanding second last over in which he conceded a mere 3 runs and on top of that got Hodge out (LBW). Morkel sent in unplayable yorkers as the Royals batsmen were simply strangulated.
Over the last 3 seasons, Morkel has played a total of 37 games for the Delhi Daredevils and has been successful in picking up 45 wickets at an average of 24.73 which is quite impressive. However, one might say that his economy rate of 7.62 could be considered a bit on the higher side, which is true but on the other hand it is also true that he bowls during those times in the innings when the batsmen take the most risks.
Did you know?
Although one would normally expect any young South African fast bowler to have Allan Donald as his idol, it is a bit different for the giant African who grew up idolising Australian legend Glenn McGrath. Just like McGrath used to strangle batsmen with his accuracy, Morkel does the same; the only difference is that the latter bowls at a much higher pace than the former. Although he was once recorded to have bowled at an eye popping 173.9 km/hr in an IPL game versus the Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2013, it later emerged that the Hawk Eye got it wrong as testified by its President later on.
However, something that many do not know is that his girlfriend is also a sports enthusiast who currently works as a presenter for Channel 9 in Australia. Her name is Roz Kelly and the couple was engaged to be married in October 2013.
By Soham Samaddar