Home > Features > Interviews >

Albie Morkel: Perfect example of a modern day all-rounder

Albie Morkel: Perfect example of a modern all-rounder

Albie Morkel © Getty Images

Albie Morkel, born on June 10, 1981 is a hard-hitting batsman and a wicket-taking bowler – the perfect example of the modern all-rounder. With the advent of T20 cricket, Morkel blossomed into one of its most dangerous players. However, he also has a good First-Class record – which gets eclipsed by his T20 feats. Nishad Pai Vaidya spoke to the all-rounder on the occasion of his 32nd birthday.

CricketCountry(CC): You come from a cricketing family in which your father was a player. Can you tell us about your early days and how you took up cricket?
 
Albie Morkel (AM): As you know, I grew up in a sports-crazy family. When I look at photos of my days as a toddler I always had a ball or bat in my hands. You can imagine growing up with two brothers who played cricket all day long. Even though I played other sports at school like rugby, tennis etc, I was really good at cricket. Hence the choice [to pursue] was easy.

CC: Who were your idols as you blossomed into a cricketer? How fast did you progress through the ranks to rise to the highest level?
 
AM: Back in the 1990s South Africa had lots of fantastic cricketers. As a young kid, I liked Kepler Wessels, although we were completely different cricketers. The other players I admired were Allan Donald, Jonty Rhodes and Hansie Cronje, to name a few. I took up cricket professionally when I was 18 years old — which was my final year in school.

CC: Your brother Morne Morkel is one of the best fast bowlers in the world. Can you tell us a bit about your sibling rivalry as you grew up with Morne?
 
AM: Interestingly, Morne only grew into the big man he is today later on in his life. As a youngster, he was very thin and wasn’t very strong. So it was quite easy to boss him around!  Little did we know then that he would turn into one of the best fast bowlers in the game. Our elder brother, Malan was also a very good cricketer. As kids we had our backyard ‘Test matches’ and you can only imagine how intense they were. Many hours were spent playing cricket and many tears were shed. Of course, let us not to talk about the broken windows!

 
CC: The international debut came in 2004 in New Zealand. But, the subsequent opportunities came few and far in between. How difficult was it waiting for another shot in that interval?
 
AM: I was picked when I probably wasn’t ready. It was nice to experience a tour like that, but looking back I probably needed another season or two of First-Class cricket. And, I see that in many players. Some of them thrive from a young age. Bur there are others who face a setback upfront and then come back as better players. So, for me to go back to the system and pick up experience wasn’t a problem.
 

Albie Morkel: Perfect example of a modern all-rounder

Albie Morkel… a dangerous hitter © Getty Images

CC: Do you think T20 cricket has played a major role in shaping you as a cricketer? Do you think people may remember you purely as an outstanding limited-overs player? You do have a very good First-Class record. 
 
AM: It was never my plan to focus only on T20 cricket. I enjoy all formats and as you rightly pointed out. I have a good First-Class record, yes, but T20 cricket gave me the chance to play a lot of games all around the world against some of the best players. 

CC: The Test debut came in 2009 against Australia and you did well with the bat. However, it was your only Test. Do you feel you could have been given more chances? What do you think you could have added to the South African Test line-up?
 
AM: It was definitely one of my goals to play more Test cricket. It just didn’t happen for me even though I played well in our domestic First-Class competition for many seasons. The only chance I got, which was against Australia, was a fantastic experience. Breaking into the South African Test squad is difficult even today. This is because they have a settled combination and the guys are doing really well.

CC: How has your experience been at the Indian Premier League with the Chennai Super Kings? What are your thoughts of the fanfare in India?
 
AM: It’s been a great experience. Being part of the Chennai Super Kings setup for six years certainly shows that I played some good cricket for them and we had great success as a team. The IPL has good competitive cricket, which is played in front of thousands of people who really love and support cricket.
 

CC: You are one of the most feared hitters in world cricket. How do you approach an innings as you are expected to unleash the long handle from the word go?
 
AM: It is a difficult role to fulfill as there is no middle ground. You either win the game for your team or you lose it, so the graph is very up and down. Specific training is needed to get into the role and you spend hours trying to hit balls out the ground during training.

Albie Morkel: Perfect example of a modern all-rounder

Albie Morke in his delivery stride © Getty Images

CC: You have this wicket-taking knack as well. Your presence adds tremendous value to a side. But, what do you enjoy doing more – batting or bowling and why?
 
AM: It is always good to have two bites at the cherry. If you have a good day with both, then that is obviously a bonus. If I have to pick one, it would be batting. I think it is more satisfying to perform with the bat just because of the rush you get when you take a bowler down.

CC: If you had to pick your most memorable performances, what would they be and why?
 
AM: It is difficult to pick. Sometimes a 20 off 10 balls in a difficult situation is just as good as a half century.
 

CC: How would you want yourself to be remembered by the cricket world say 20-30 years from now
 
AM:  I would like to be remembered as someone who played the game hard, but fair.
 

CC: Finally, you said before the IPL 2013 that you feel your international career is over. Why do you believe so? You have numerous years of good cricket left in you. 
 
AM: I was told by the selectors that it is highly unlikely that they would consider me for any format for South Africa again, so was just accepting reality, I still enjoy my cricket and so if they want to pick me in future it would be great, but for now my focus is just on the team I play for. Also, I have to make sure that I keep enjoying the game. That is the most important part.
 
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with cricketcountry.com and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (14:00 IST)   at Port Elizabeth

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (03:30 IST)   at Christchurch

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 26, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Melbourne

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Jan 2, 2015 (14:00 IST)   at Cape Town

Sri Lanka tour of New Zealand, 2014-15

Jan 3, 2015 (03:30 IST)   at Wellington

More

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 19, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 68 runs

India tour of Australia, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Australia won by 4 wkts

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Dec 17, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

New Zealand won by 7 runs

West Indies in South Africa, 2014-15

Dec 17, 2014  at Centurion

South Africa won by an innings and 220 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Dec 16, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 87 runs

Photos

India vs Australia, 2nd Test at Brisbane

Videos

Josh Hazlewood looks back at his 5-wicket haul

ICC World Cup 2015: England announce 15-man squad

Live Cricket Score India vs Australia 2014-15, 2nd Test at Brisbane, Day 4: Australia win by 4 wickets, take 2-0 lead in the series

Pakistan vs New Zealand, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: Key clashes

Live Cricket Score, South Africa vs West Indies,1st Test, Day 3 at Centurion: Samuels and Chanderpaul rebuild for West Indies

Anil Kumble Australia India Moments in history Ricky Ponting South Africa

ISL Finals 2014, Kerala Blasters FC vs Atletico de Kolkata: No goals in the first half

Johnathan Trott to lead England Lions

India tour of Australia 2014: Steven Smith warns visitors against resorting to sledging in the future

ICC World Cup 2015: England announce 15-man squad

India vs Australia 2014-15, 2nd Test at Brisbane: Pitch curator shocked by India’s criticism

India vs Australia 2014-15, 2nd Test at Brisbane: Highlights

India’s collapse against Australia on 2nd Test at Brisbane: Did the visitors really bat badly on Day 4?

India vs Australia 2014-15, 2nd Test at Brisbane: Marks out of 10 for the hosts

India vs Australia 2014-15, Brisbane: India marks out of 10

Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014, 5th ODI at Abu Dhabi: Marks out of ten for the hosts

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

653 Posts | 10 Fans

India vs Australia: Murali Vijay's 144, Video highlights

प्रसिद्ध कथक नृत्यांगना सितारा देवी नहीं रही

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bigg Boss 8: Ali Quli Mirza, Renee Dhyani, Upen Patel, Praneet Bhatt, Sonali Raut – who should be evicted this week?

Revealed: The reason why Kishore Kumar’s biopic starring Ranbir Kapoor won’t feature Katrina Kaif!

अभिनेत्री प्रियंका चोपड़ा ने स्वच्छ भारत अभियान में हिस्सा लिया

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here