• Morkel ponders England’s top-order plans

    Former Test fast bowler Morne Morkel has all but suggested the Proteas target opening batsman Rory Burns during the series against England later this year.

    Burns has played a dozen Tests in the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka and the Caribbean since November 2018’s debut. He is averaging under 30, but collected a century and two half-tons against Australia during the Ashes series earlier this year.

    He will likely be named in the squad for the tour of South Africa, alongside Test newcomers Zak Crawley and Dominic Sibley, who have been picked for the preceding tour of New Zealand.

    ‘I play with Rory and before the Ashes I was nervous for him. What I can say about him is that he is one guy who bats day in and day out. He spends hours in the nets working on his game and he worked out a plan for how to score runs, but I don’t think he has played on fast, bouncy wickets,’ said Morkel, who is Burns’ teammate at Surrey.

    ‘And then they are going to have a new guy Sibley or Crawley. Sibley is a typical English batsman that will bat time; Crawley, a youngster, very attacking. At No 3 and 4, they have a lot of options. Ollie Pope – I won’t be surprised if they play him. He is a quality player. If Joe Root goes to three, Pope can bat four. If I was a selector, I would give him a run.’

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    Morkel will play for the Tshwane Spartans in the second edition of the Mzansi Super League in South Africa, which starts this week. He is looking forward to effectively mentoring Spartans seamers Lutho Sipamla, Wiaan Mulder and Lungi Ngidi.

    ‘Hopefully I can help the guys to develop and grow their game. Spending time with Lungi, Lutho and Wiaan and helping them on the field, for me, that’s a personal goal,’ he added.

    ‘The best way is not to spoonfeed them, but to let them make mistakes and let them know it’s OK. It’s also for them to have a shoulder to cry on and talk about the game.’

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