| Morne Morkel |
Calcutta: Morne Morkel wasn’t quite in the thick of things during his first couple of seasons in the IPL when he turned up for Rajasthan Royals.
He played two matches each in the 2009 and 2010 editions, but had nothing to show for in the wickets column. It was in 2011 when the South African pacer brought about a turnaround in his performance, having moved to the Delhi DareDevils.
From that season onwards, Morne started proving his value and gradually cemented his place in the playing XI. Playing three seasons for the Delhi franchise, he picked up 45 wickets from 37 appearances with IPL 2012 being his best, when he snared 25 from 16 matches.
Not just sheer pace, but also his ability to extract bounce from any surface keeps him ahead of many modern-day fast bowlers apart from providing his team with an edge.
Roped in by the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for the seventh edition of IPL, Morne is obviously the automatic choice to lead the bowling attack. And if he fires on a consistent basis, the Knights will have few reasons to worry about.
At the moment, the 29-year-old seems to be enjoying the new atmosphere in his new franchise. “So far, I’ve had two practice sessions for KKR. On the first day, I felt like going back to school again and meeting new friends and teammates… Enjoying the atmosphere and the ambience,” Morne said in a video diary, shot on the sidelines of the Knight Riders’ practice session in Abu Dhabi.
“It’s fantastic to be here in Abu Dhabi, training in this heat… Going to be a good sweat, at 37 degrees Celsius… Should keep the training short,” he quipped.
Morne’s presence could really go on to play a significant role in helping the likes of Umesh Yadav and Bengal’s Veer Pratap Singh excel.
Umesh, particularly, was pretty excited about having the South African as his teammate at KKR. The 26-year-old had categorically mentioned that Morne’s presence would give him an opportunity to learn a thing or two about variations from the latter.
But more than Umesh, it’s Veer who could learn a lot more, rubbing shoulders with someone of Morne’s stature.
He has been pretty impressive for Bengal in the limited opportunities coming his way. Now, getting to know the nuances of fast bowling from Morne could make him an even better bowler and also help in drawing the attention of national selectors.
Overall, with Morne as the spearhead, the KKR pace attack does sport a strong look with the in-form Ranganath Vinay Kumar too being part of it.
Emphasis, meanwhile, is also being laid on improving the front-foot drives of Manvinder Singh Bisla, who’s taking throwdowns from assistant coach Vijay Dahiya.