Michael Clarke had an excellent series against South Africa in 2011 © Getty Images
Feb 7, 2014
Former Australian cricketer Michael Hussey feels that South African all-rounder Morne Morkel may prove to be the danger man for Michael Clarke, in the three-Test match series between the two sides, beginning at Centurion from February 12.
Hussey also has fond memories of Clarke dispatching the formidable Dale Steyn to the cleaners during the Rainbow Nation’s tour Down Under in 2011 and hopes that the Australian skipper does the same this time around with the South African pacers, away from home, reported the Sydney Morning Herald.
Hussey who was appointed as a batting consultant for budding cricketers at the National Cricket Center in Brisbane, believes that though Steyn is the spear-head of the Proteas bowling attack, still it may be Morkel who may prove to be the most dangerous for Clarke, thanks to his huge height and the bounce that he generates.
“They’re all different and that is the hardest thing. Probably Dale Steyn I found the hardest. He is just a brilliant bowler. Good pace, good swing, he loves the contest and he was always at you. I know Michael Clarke would probably prefer to face Dale Steyn than Morne Morkel. It’s different for different blokes. I think he prefers facing the shorter, skiddier bowlers rather than the taller ones,” said Hussey about the South African bowling attack.
“We saw in Australia that I think he played Steyn with contempt at some stages, hitting him back over the top. I remember him hitting Morne Morkel over the top a few times as well. But my observation over the years, he does prefer the skiddier types. I’m not saying he doesn’t play the tall guys well, but I guess [Stuart] Broad he didn’t like facing as much as Jimmy Anderson, so I think there is a bit of a trend there,” added Hussey about Clarke facing Morkel.
Though Clarke and Hussey have shared some memorable partnerships in the past, most notably the ones in Brisbane and Adelaide against South Africa, still the Proteas ran out deserving winners in the series thanks to their victory in Perth, which also allowed them to keep their No.1 Test ranking.
Clarke also scored heavily against the South Africans, with the best being his double-century at the Adelaide Oval, but still that was not enough for the Australians to salvage the series.
For the record while South Africa have managed to tame the Aussies in their own backyard during its last two trips, still Graeme Smith’s men have not been able to defeat the Australians at home and last won a home series way back in 1969-70.
Hussey who feels that South Africa will miss the services of the recently retired Jacques Kallis also believes that the key to Australia in the series would be their handling of the pace trio of Steyn, Morkel and Vernon Philander.