It is always a nervous time coming back from injury, but Morne Morkel returned with power and confidence, taking three Zimbabwe wickets in 25 balls to earn our Turbo Bowler award.
Morkel was selected for the cover feature for the latest edition of SA Cricket magazine (on the shelves now) on the basis of his impending return from a side strain that kept him out of top flight cricket since the first Test against Bangladesh in early October.
His recovery was a slow one, hampered by uncertainty: first he was expected to play a significant part in the Titans’ Ram Slam tournament, but ended up playing just one game, opting to rebuild stamina. He eventually turned out for Easterns in mid-December in a three-day match to test his durability, taking 5-20 and 2-23.
But whatever doubts remained, were put to rest when he trapped Hamilton Masakadza with his first ball, and followed that by removing Chamu Chibhabha (with a great catch by Temba Bavuma at slip) and, five balls later, found Brendan Taylor’s edge.
Zimbabwe were reeling at 3-11. When Zimbabwe resumed batting the next day, Morkel added two more to end the innings on 5-21 off 11 overs. In the follow-on innings, he needed to bowl only four overs. Morkel was back with a bang.
Photo: Cricket South Africa