Image courtesy of: Zimbio
South Africa head coach Russell Domingo has said that pace bowler Morne Morkel is not assured of his place in the playing XI during the Champions Trophy.
But, why would the Proteas be willing to bench their most experienced seamer in the side? According to Domingo, it has to do with the fact that by dropping Morkel, South Africa can field a side filled with more all-rounders, which gives them a boost when it comes to both batting and bowling.
“It’s a catch-22 situation because having Morne there might strengthen our bowling, it gives us more of a tail not having the three all-rounders,” Domingo said. “It’s his first one-day international for a while and it’s good to have him back. He’s had a long-term injury layoff, and the bowlers that have played in his place have done really well.”
Morkel did feature in the third ODI against England at Lord’s after missing the first two games of the recently concluded series, but despite conceding just 15 runs from the four overs he bowled, the 32-year-old failed to take any wickets.
At one point in the match, England were reeling at 20/6 and this was the result of Kagiso Rabada and Wayne Parnell, who worked in tandem to scythe through the hosts’ batting line-up.
But, when questioned about why pitches in England seem to be a lot more batting friendly, which was evident when England made scores of 330 and 339 in the first two ODIs, Domingo pointed out that it suits their style of play.
“That’s the way England bat at times – if there is something in the wicket, and you land the ball in the right areas and they nick the ball, you’ve got a chance against them because they play that expansive brand of cricket. On flatter wickets, they’re going to be hell of a dangerous,” he said. “But the bowlers will always have a chance against them when there’s something in the wicket because of the way they’re going about their batting at the moment.”
South Africa will take on Sri Lanka in their Champions Trophy opener at The Oval on Saturday before going on to play Pakistan and India on June 7 and 11 respectively.
The Proteas could potentially meet England in the semi-finals, but even though the latter have the upper hand as they won the recent ODI series 2-1, Domingo conceded that he was happy with South Africa’s preparation going into the tournament.
“There were a lot of benefits and positives that we can take forward into the Champions Trophy so we’re pretty happy with the way things have panned out for us,” he said.