Rejuvenated Morkel 'committed to Proteas'

Morne Morkel (Getty)
Morne Morkel (Getty)

Cape Town - Morne Morkel was one of the only shining lights to emerge from an otherwise dismal Test series for the Proteas in England. 

South Africa went down 3-1 over four matches, but Morkel was named the side's man of the series after picking up 19 wickets at an average of 26.36.

While those are hardly earth-shattering numbers, Morkel was considered largely unlucky after beating the beat countless times over the course of the series.  

When captain Faf du Plessis arrived in England after missing the first Test, he said that Morkel was bowling better than he had seen him bowl in a long time. 

With Dale Steyn still out injured, Kagiso Rabada suspended for the second Test in England and Vernon Philander battling injury and illness, Morkel's return to form could not have come at a better time. 

And while it may not have changed the overall result of the series, the Proteas can at least take heart in the fact that Morkel is hoping to be around for a while longer. 

"I'm committed to the Proteas and for me that's the most important thing," the 32-year-old said at the Proteas team arrival in Cape Town on Thursday.

"We're in a bit of a slump now and it's important for our senior players to stick together and help the team get back to a place where the public and everyone can be proud of us."

On his form, Morkel said he had put in the hours to get his conditioning back after a long struggle with a back injury. And while it was difficult watching the ball go past the outside edge so much in England, he can still take some encouragement from his performance. 

"It was very frustrating but at least, in those conditions, I was asking the right questions," he said.

"I've put a lot of hard work in over the past four or five months ... physically, mentally and also adapting to the conditions.

"In the nets I started to play around with the grip of the ball and got it to nibble a bit with a wobbled seam and from there it was just important to work out different angles."

Morkel is hoping to hone his skills even more when the Proteas confirm current England bowling coach Ottis Gibson as their new head coach. 

The two crossed paths on the county circuit in England around a decade ago, when Morkel was playing for Yorskshire and Gibson for Durham.

"I know Ottis quite well ... I've watched him quite closely how he's worked with the England bowlers," said Morkel.

"It's a different sort of skill set, if you look at the way the England bowlers are using the crease and the different wrist positions ... a lot of that is going to come to our camp now.

"A lot of the youngsters can learn from that and benefit from it."

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