Durban – Experienced former Proteas all-rounder Albie Morkel has been selected to captain the Durban Heat for the upcoming Mzansi Super League which starts for the Heat with a home game against the Cape Town Blitz on Sunday, November 18.
The 37 year-old is arguably one of the most successful captains in South African franchise cricket and has played T20 cricket all over the world, including a long stint with the Chennai Super Kings in the Indian Premier League.
With 309 T20 caps to his name, Morkel’s experience is almost unmatched in the MSL and given the all-rounder’s match-winning ability with both ball and bat it was an easy decision to give him the captaincy.
The Pretoria-based man might have played cricket all over the world, however he has never left SuperSport Park, so relocating to the East Coast for the month of the Mzansi Super League will be a different experience.
"I have played my cricket in Pretoria for fifteen years so I have become very comfortable with that environment, so it is going to be an exciting challenge," Morkel said.
"We aren’t changing franchises or anything like that, this competition is completely new with completely new squads so it’s not going to be difficult to try and convince guys to get behind the team."
The Durban Heat squad has a sound mixture of youth and experience with the likes of Hashim Amla, David Miller and Kyle Abbott as well as youngsters Tladi Bokako, Brandon Mavuta and Okuhle Cele.
Having the experienced players at his disposal is an asset that Morkel will take advantage of throughout the competition.
"I’m not walking in there thinking that I know everything. I have a lot of senior players to get help from and I am sure we will form a nice leadership group with all the senior guys.
"I’ll have the help of those guys but it will be up to me to make the calls on the field," Morkel added.
Durban Heat coach Grant Morgan weighed up the options and felt that through his pedigree as a T20 player Morkel was the obvious choice to take on the captaincy.
"He has an incredible T20 track record that includes winning big T20 tournaments," Morgan said.
"He has the respect of his players and he is a player that will be picked in the starting XI.
"His T20 experience around the world is virtually unparalleled which is another massive plus for us."
Morgan and Morkel played cricket against each other many years ago, but from a professional perspective Morgan is looking forward to sharing ideas with the veteran.
"I am really looking forward to working with a player of Morkel's class and experience," Morgan mentioned.
The Durban Heat begin their Mzansi Super League campaign with a clash with the Cape Town Blitz on Sunday, November 18 at Kingsmead Cricket Stadium starting at 11:00.