Morkel stars as SA switch to one-day mode

2008-08-13 00:00

The South Africans began their preparations for the one-day leg of their tour with a 23-run victory against a PCA Masters XI at Wormsley. Albie Morkel was the stand-out performer, with 35 off 21 balls before taking 3 for 29 as the Masters came up short despite Stephen Moore’s half-century.

The Masters XI was made up of former first-class players, the likes of Nick Knight and Dougie Brown, and those not involved in domestic matches. The South Africans rested a number of key players, including captain Graeme Smith.

Morkel has spent the last few weeks watching his brother, Morne, help South Africa to a historic Test series victory and now wants to play his part.

“We’ve been playing some good one-day cricket, we were number one in the world earlier this year and we’re a proud nation,” he said. “For us to come here and win a Test series and a one-day series would be a big achievement and we’re all keen to do that.”

Meanwhile, fast bowler Dale Steyn is expected to return to when the Proteas take on the English Lions at Grace Road today.

A broken thumb kept Steyn out of the last two Test matches, but the plaster cast has been removed and he is ready to take on England’s second-best side.

Smith and veterans Mark Boucher and Jacques Kallis will enjoy a break, coach Mickey Arthur said.

The three seniors will be back when the Proteas take on the Lions in Derby on Saturday.

Arthur said he would like to select his strongest team for the last warm-up match on Saturday.

He said Smith was mentally exhausted after the Test series. Boucher also deserved a rest, he added.

“I also want Jacques to get away from cricket for a while. I am not concerned about his batting in the long term, but I’d like to give him a break.”

Arthur expects the new players to boost the team’s motivation for the one-day series.

“The ODI players are ready for action after our success in the Test series. Their enthusiasm will certainly help.

“The Test players are a little tired after an already too long tour, but we are motivated for the ODI series.”

Albie Morkel said he is looking forward to the matches. “It should be a very good series, especially with Kevin Pietersen as the new England captain.”

— SR and News24.

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