Give Morkel another go: Smith

Durban [South Africa], March 4 (ANI): Former South African skipper Graeme Smith has backed Morne Morkel, after the pacer’s disappointing performance in the first Test, so far, in the four-Test match series against Australia.

Morkel, who finished Day Three of the first Test with figures of 3-42, failed to trouble Australia’s top-order batsmen.

Smith backed the Proteas paceman to keep his spot in South Africa’s playing XI for the second test, beginning on March 9, in Port Elizabeth.

“Because there are so many eyes on this series, people were saying ‘Is it worth it, playing Ngidi in the next Test?’. I think it’s worth giving Morkel another go. I just worry that Ngidi is maybe not fit enough or mature enough yet to carry that third seamer role and the amount of overs and the responsibility that will come with it. If South Africa were going with four seamers then Ngidi definitely comes into the reckoning, but as the third seamer role Morkel, definitely, no doubt deserves more of a go,” quoted Smith as saying.

On February 26, Morkel, 33, had announced that he would be stepping away from all forms of international cricket, at the conclusion of the four-Test series against Australia.

Smith, who captained Morkel in 56 Tests, termed his decision to retire as “disappointing”.

“Very disappointing I guess, this outing,” Smith said.

Morkel’s decision to retire came as a shock, given he took 39 wickets in 2017, 19 of which came away from home in England as South Africa’s leading wicket-taker on tour.

He captured 13 wickets against India in the 2-1 series win in January but managed to scalp just two wickets in the five ODIs that followed.

“It was an extremely tough decision but I feel the time is right to start a new chapter. I have a young family and a foreign wife, and the current demanding international schedule has put a lot of strain us. I have to put them first and this decision will only benefit us going forward,” Morkel had said. (ANI)