‘I’ve always tried to focus on getting it right mentally’, says Morne Morkel

"If you're not mentally strong, you're going to struggle"

“If you’re not mentally strong, you’re going to struggle”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

South Africa pace bowler Morne Morkel has announced that he usually succeeds with the ball when he gets it “right mentally”.

Morkel’s comments come after he took four crucial wickets in the second innings of the first Test against Sri Lanka to lead the Proteas to a 153-run win in Galle.

“It’s hot, it’s humid and you need to prepare yourself for that,” Morkel said. “I’ve always tried to focus on getting it right mentally. If you’re not mentally strong, you’re going to struggle.”

However, Morkel also noted that it was vital to make early inroads with the new ball since the blistering heat and intense humidity “takes a bit of the battery life out of you”.

“In this heat and humidity when the ball is a bit soft, that takes a bit of the battery life out of you,” Morkel said. “The key for us in these conditions (is) for the bowlers to have a strong body language, because that lifts up the field. Also for the Sri Lankan guys if they see that the fast bowlers are fired up and our body language is strong, that send a strong message. We have to get over those things – the wicket is flat, the ball is soft – and we have to come up with a game plan.”

Morkel also conceded that he was enjoying being tested to his limits in the harsh conditions.

“I felt I bowled very well bar the one over in the first innings but when the ball was a little bit softer it was quite tough,” he said. “But to come back in the second innings – it’s one thing getting the first ten but the second ten is more important – so it’s a good thing for me to come back and support Dale and the rest of the bowlers and to have something in the wicket column.

“It’s nice when we discuss and plan and those things happen. Mahela is a quality player and we knew him and Kumar were key for Sri Lanka. That was why we wanted to fire with intensity upfront at those two guys and maybe put some heat on them.”

Morkel added that taking it easy between the Test matches helps his body and mind get primed and ready for match day.

“I will turn my arm over the day before the Test,” he said. “The next couple of days is getting the body sorted. I’ve got a couple of blisters I need to attend to. So just feet up and rest – some pool time, stretching and maybe a light run.”

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