Albie Morkel gives his insights into the T20 game
It’s been a fabulous tournament so far, both on and off the field. The warm-up week was a great success, the practise facilities have been excellent and the hotel is a very popular spot with the boys being right in the centre of London but also next to Hyde Park so the ‘country’ boys amongst us don’t feel too cramped!
For those of you who haven’t seen it, Hyde Park is huge – not just a small patch of green surrounded by tall buildings. It is, actually, in the middle of the city but you can’t see any buildings looking from one end to the other.
We used to say that ODI cricket was unpredictable but now it is Pro20 cricket which we call unpredictable, but it’s not completely true. A great batting or bowling performance from a single player can win a game, but the better teams will still win more games than they lose.
Clear but flexible game plans and tactics are very important to being successful in a tournament like this. The captain has to think quickly on his feet and it helps him if the players are aware of what is required with plan ‘B’ and plan ‘C.’ We are all very aware of what our roles are.
Against England, for example, I bowled one over – which was a wicket maiden! – and was then taken out of the attack. People may not have understood that but the wicket was taking spin and we needed to make sure we made the best use of our eight overs from ‘Botes’ and Roelof.
Good twenty over cricket often requires some educated guess work. A batsman will try and predict what the bowler will deliver and the bowlers are always trying to second guess what the batsmen are thinking. Captains also have to go with the ‘gut feel’ and, having just bowled a maiden, perhaps Graeme was worried I would go for 20 if I had a second over! Let me tell you, as a bowler I was very happy with match figures of 1-1-0-1.
Roelof still seems to be surprising people with his success at international level – but not me. For the last two years at the Titans I have believed that he had the skills and determination to make it at the highest level. Also, he has a serious ‘bulldog’ factor. In Australia they say a sportsman like him has ‘mongrel’ in him. He never takes no for an answer, never accepts defeat, and seems to rise to any challenge.
Morne would love to play a game during the tournament but, like everyone else, he knows his role and accepts that, while the two spinners are performing so well, there isn’t likely to be a change of tactics. But if there is an injury, he is raring to go.
Throughout the last fortnight we have focussed on one match, and one stage of the competition at a time. We know we have to win one of the last two Super Eight matches against the West Indies and India to reach the semi finals. Then, hopefully, it’ll be time to refocus once again. But we’re not getting ahead of ourselves.