Game for selfie, Morne Morkel highlights advantages of ‘playing at home’ | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Game for selfie, Morne Morkel highlights advantages of ‘playing at home’

A few hours after South Africa’s 72-run win over India in the Cape Town Test, pacer Morne Morkel was waiting at a takeaway waiting for his order

cricket Updated: Jan 09, 2018 23:46 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Morne Morkel picked two wickets each in the two Indian innings of the Cape Town Test, which South Africa won by 72 runs.
Morne Morkel picked two wickets each in the two Indian innings of the Cape Town Test, which South Africa won by 72 runs.(Getty Images)

Ever gone to the neighbourhood McDonald’s to find a current or former cricketer of some repute standing in the same queue as you? Possibly not. In fact, last year’s instance of Rahul Dravid standing in a queue with his kids at a science exhibition in Bangalore is possibly the only one that comes to mind.

In South Africa, it’s different. Security isn’t in excess, spectators are generally well-behaved and hence you see the cricketers to be of the free-mingling kind. Even the local journalists, who are not always looking for an interview or an exclusive quote, don’t make a big deal out of it.

But as an Indian journalist, you are in a sticky position when you enter a rib joint to find Morne Morkel sitting at a takeaway waiting for his order, just hours after South Africa fashioned a thrilling 72-run win against the visitors.

You are torn between the ethics of giving cricketers their private space and the urge to ask him a few exclusive questions. The latter won, hands down.

“Hi Morne! Great bowling! Must say it’s a little surprising to find an international cricketer to be sitting at a takeaway like this,” one tried to make conversation.

“Thanks mate. But that’s the great thing about playing at home. You can go anywhere like this and not many will disturb you,” said Morkel.

“So was Cheteshwar Pujara’s wicket the most fulfilling today?”

“All were important mate, not just him.”

By this time the lady behind the counter was calling aloud the takeaway token number that corresponded with Morkel’s. One asked him quickly if he was game for a photo. “No mate. But I can take a selfie with you,” said Morkel.

Still desperate to make a story out of this, one asked last time if a photo of only him could be taken. Saying no politely, Morkel grabbed his takeaway bag and headed for his Land Rover parked outside. There goes your story, one’s journalistic side rued. The other side, of a cricket lover, regretted missing a selfie offered with a smile.