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Interview

Shirin Sadikot in Durban

Soon I might play only T20s: Albie Morkel

CSK all-rounder reveals he might turn into a T20 specialist in a couple of years

Albie Morkel has played more Twenty20 matches than anyone in the world and he understands the format better than most. He has been a lynchpin in the Chennai Super Kings outfit since the inaugural IPL. And when they had a chance to retain their four best players, Morkel was an automatic choice.

However, he hasn’t been able to be of the same value to his team when donning the South African colours. Morkel is aware of that fact and “is looking to find the answers”. While not ready to make any excuses, the all-rounder said the security of playing every game helps him stay consistent with CSK.

After helping CSK win their last match of CLT20, against Yorkshire, Morkel spoke to clt20.com about his team’s dismal performance in the tournament and revealed he might tread the path of T20 specialist in a couple of years.

Excerpts from his interview:

How would you describe CSK’s poor performance in the tournament?

If you want to look at the positives, we’ve had two wins in a row. But we’re disappointed. We’ve set high standards for ourselves and we failed to live up to them. In the first game, against Sydney Sixers, we were beaten by a better team but we thought the second game, against the Lions was ours to lose after having them in trouble. They came back strongly towards the end. But it’s good to have two wins under our belt and we’ll now look to build on them for the next IPL.

In a short tournament like this, how important is it to hit the ground running?

It’s the most important part of playing in such tournaments. Our preparation too got hindered due to rain and we didn’t get any warm-up matches. It’s not an excuse but our first match in the tournament was our first as a team after the IPL. Also, everyone has played a lot of cricket of late, with the World Twenty20 just completed. But CSK is a great side with quality players and we’ll be back.

You are a vital cog in the CSK outfit. Why haven’t you been able to translate that utility at international cricket?

It’s a difficult one and something that even I look at. I’ve been a consistent performer for CSK but not so much for South Africa. And I too am looking for the answer to your question. Maybe it is because in CSK I have the security of playing every game whereas playing for South Africa, one of two bad performances put me under pressure.

Is one of the reasons also that in CSK, your role is more well defined than in South Africa?

That could be another reason. Most of times, I bowl my four overs for CSK, which makes a difference. Playing for South Africa, it’s difficult to get all four overs because there are bowlers like Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel. It puts you under pressure when you don’t bowl regularly in international cricket. And if you fail with the bat, what’s your purpose being in the team? These are the two possible reasons but I am looking to find the answer to this.

Do you think you need to step up with your bowling a bit?

You have to see where you’re more dangerous. In a T20 game, I probably win more games with the bat and there’s no defined role for me as a bowler. I bowl one or maybe two overs up front, then one in the middle overs and one at the death. It gets really difficult if you have to bowl one over here and there.

You’ve played more T20 games than anyone in the world. You love this format, don’t you?

I enjoy it. Not to say that I don’t enjoy the other formats but T20 has certainly opened the doors for me. Since I joined the CSK family, I’ve had fantastic time when them in the last six years. T20 also gives you an opportunity to make friends around the world. Probably in the next two-three years I’ll only play T20 cricket.

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