After bowling splendidly in the death overs with an injured leg to pilot South Africa to an 18-run win over India in the third ODI at Rajkot on Sunday, pace bowler Morne Morkel expressed doubt about his availability for the fourth and penultimate game of the ODI series on Thursday.
“I’m a little bit concerned about it, but I think we’ve got a quality medical team that will help me over the next two days. I pulled up in the fourth ball of my sixth over a little bit. But let’s see. I’m not confident I’ll be ready for the next game. It’s just a matter now of the next 24 hours,” said Morkel after the match on Sunday.
The fourth ODI is at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium and the hot conditions in the southern metropolis will not help his cause for sure. “For me, it’s just game fitness, getting the intensity in those few things going. Lots of times, I’m playing out of my ears and you need to see to bite the bullet and do the job for the team. But we fortunately bowled tonight under lights, so it helped a little bit,” said Morkel.
“It wasn’t dry heat like in the first innings. But we still need to dig deep. It’s hard work, especially when you’re up against a quality batting line-up where margins (for error) can be small. You need to be on the money, so it takes a lot of mental strength, the 50 overs,” he added.
Morkel grabbed four for 39, including the wickets of top scorer Virat Kohli (77) and Ajinkya Rahane off successive balls, in a superb burst of fast bowling to derail India’s run-chase of 270 well short at 252 and the visiting team’s skipper AB de Villiers also praised his effort.
“Yeah, Morne came to me after he bowled six overs and he told me that he’s got a little bit of a sore leg. I might have to think to get his overs out of the way. And he bowled so well in that return spell that I had to keep him for one at the end there, so he showed a lot of guts and determination to get through that spell,” said de Villiers after the game.
“It would have been a very easy decision for him to just go off and call it a day, but he pulled through for the boys and he bowled exceptionally well with a sore leg in the last 4 overs. He turned the game on its head, with a few other contributions, obviously. But he deserves all that is coming his way,” de Villiers added.