Cape Town - The Proteas’ pace attack is relishing the opportunity to run out in seam-friendly conditions and in front of South African fans in the upcoming Sunfoil Test series against England starting at Sahara Stadium Kingsmead on December 26th.
The traditional December 26th Test match returns to Kingsmead after moving to Port Elizabeth last year, and is a perfect ‘welcome home’ present for the bowlers with the prospect of some zip and bounce.
“It’s very nice to be back in South Africa, especially Durban,” Proteas fast bowler, Morne Morkel said to the media on Wednesday.
“It’s always fun for a fast bowler starting off in the nets to see a bit of bounce but the whole bowling unit is excited. The town is buzzing and is excited about this December 26th Test match. Training has gone well in the last two days, it was important for us to get the cobwebs out and to build on for Boxing Day.”
Morkel led the attack with impressive skill and authority in the absence of Dale Steyn in India, an opportunity he enjoyed and thrived in under placid conditions. Steyn’s return bolsters a charged up pace attack also featuring Kyle Abbott and Kagiso Rabada, in conditions that always have ‘something for the bowlers’ and also offer some reverse-swing, which Morkel brilliantly exploited in India.
“That was the important thing for me in the sub-continent, working with a reverse-swinging ball,” he said. “I sat down with Charl (Langeveldt) and worked on a couple ideas, setting batsmen up with the reversing ball, it was pleasing for me to get that skill going. It’s going to be a crucial part, especially here in Durban where the ball can scuff up.
“I enjoyed leading the attack in India, it was a great challenge for me,” he admitted.
“When you get the No.1 ranked fast bowler back you will gladly take the backseat again. Dale has some sideline fever at the moment, he is ready to go. He has worked hard on his game over the last couple of weeks and you can see with the energy and venom he has been bowling with in the nets today, it’s quite exciting.”
Morkel, a vital cog of the senior group in the squad, says they will have to take the responsibility and lead from the front with performances on the field after the trying times, particularly with the bat, in India.
“There is definitely pressure, but it’s pressure that we enjoy,” he said.
“We are playing at home and although things didn’t go according to plan in India it’s time for us to front up, we need to lead from the front. It’s important for us not to look too far ahead and to just take it session-by-session and to try and play the best quality cricket that we know we can play.
“We have batsmen who average 50, we have bowlers who can shape the ball on any wicket, those are the most important things we need to focus on. We know the wheel will turn in our favour again and it’s just a matter of sticking it out and fronting up.”