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Updated: May 17, 2014 02:09 IST

Albie and I are grateful for our careers: Morne Morkel

Arun Venugopal
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Morne Morkel.
Morne Morkel.

Morkel, in his first season with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League, is the team’s joint second-highest wicket-taker thus far with nine in seven matches.

Morne Morkel’s rangy presence at the bowling crease has often deterred many a batsman from coming on to the front foot. The South African pacer, with more than 350 International wickets, has deservedly earned the reputation of being a persistently-accurate operator.

Morkel, in his first season with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the Indian Premier League, is the team’s joint second-highest wicket-taker thus far with nine in seven matches.

In an e-mail interview with The Hindu, the 29-year-old shares his thoughts on bowling alongside Dale Steyn, on the sibling rivalry with older brother Albie, on the team-environment in KKR, and on his love for wildlife.

Excerpts:

Q: Despite being one half of a feared pace-bowling combination along with Dale Steyn, do you feel you are underrated?

A: I do not feel that way at all. We have a great rapport and it’s always an effort from the both of us to get the best results for the team. I thoroughly enjoy being part of the combination.

How does the South African pace-pack – Steyn, you, and Vernon Philander – work together? Do you have your own little meetings?

We have a great understanding. We are always there to help each other out and back the other person completely.

Could you tell us about your pre-match routine?

[There is] no specific routine as such. I just try to keep it as simple as possible. I try to keep as calm as possible and focus on the task ahead.

How do you work on honing your accuracy?

As a fast bowler, the key is to keep working hard. Practice is the only way to improve any skill and it is the same with the matter of accuracy.

Are you big on gym-training or are you a traditionalist who merely believes that bowling long spells is training enough?

I think there has to be a balanced approach. As a professional athlete, you definitely need to put in your hours at the gym as it helps with certain areas where just bowling long spells is not enough. I believe that stretching is a vital part of remaining fit, too.

What’s the best and worst sledge you have dished out?

I do not really get into that much so [I] would not be able to answer that.

How was it growing up playing cricket alongside Albie? Was there any sibling rivalry?

We both loved playing the game and are both extremely grateful that we have been able to make careers out of it. [There was] just the right amount of it [sibling rivalry].

Do you have specific ambitions for yourself and the South African team?

Right now I am just concentrating on doing as well as possible for KKR and trying to help the team.

Has it been easy finding your feet in the KKR set-up? Who are your close friends in the team?

They are a great bunch of lads and I get along with everyone. They have a very professional set-up and that has made the integration very comfortable. I have known Jacques [Kallis] from before so he [is my close friend].

Tell us about your family and your interests off the field.

I think, as a professional athlete, it is very important to have a supportive and understanding family and I have been blessed with that. I enjoy the wildlife and any chance I get I try to involve myself with it back home.

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