Morkel and Phangiso in the reckoning for Champions Trophy
Forgotten Proteas fast bowler Morne Morkel and spinner Aaron Phangiso are in the reckoning for places in South Africa’s squad for the ICC Champions Trophy to be hosted by England and Wales in June.
Morkel played his first competitive match in almost three months when the Titans lost to the Dolphins by five wickets in the Momentum One Day Cup on Friday as he began the process of proving his fitness.
Speaking after he watched Morkel in action against the Dolphins‚ Cricket South Africa (CSA) convener of selectors Linda Zondi said he was happy with his performance even though there was room for improvement.
“I am comfortable where he is at the moment in terms of fitness‚" Zondi said.
"I had to come to see him play for myself and not to rely on information from other people.
"He brings a lot of experience to any side and it is important for people to note that everyone who is playing franchise cricket is in the running for a place in the Champions Trophy squad.
Against the Dolphins‚ Morkel failed to take any wickets in his eight overs but he conceded 53 runs where he bowled at his usual speed and bounce to show that he has fully recovered from the back injury that threatened his career.
The other player whose participation at the Champions Trophy remains in doubt is Phangiso but Zondi said the fact that he was not picked for the ODI series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand does mean he will not be considered.
“Every single player who is playing in the franchise system is in the running but we will always pick what we feel is the team that is going to do well for South Africa and the combinations that are we looking for.
"We are going to pick the team according to the structure of the side and I cannot say that Phangiso is out of the running for a place in the travelling squad‚” he said.
While he provided hope for Morkel and Phangiso‚ Zondi was not upbeat when discussing the chances of Dale Steyn playing at the tournament.
“(Dale) Steyn is still out doing his rehabilitation and he has not played any form of cricket at the moment.
"I will be guided by the medical team but it would be very rare for a player to be picked to such a tournament not having played any competitive games at any level.
"A guy like Morne (Morkel) is starting to play competitive franchise cricket and if he is selected there will be justification because he has overs under his belt‚” he said.
He also heaped praise on emerging fast bowling talent Lungi Ngidi‚ who is also recovering from the injury he suffered on national duty.
But Ngidi is an outsider for a place in the Champions Trophy squad as he is further down on the pecking order.
“I have known Lungi (Ngidi) for a while and he has done exceptionally well for himself.
"He is a kid who has showed a lot of potential but let’s not forget that he is learning and one way or another during this long learning process he is going to fail us.
"We need to give him all the support and the key thing for us with regard to him is how we move forward with him.
"We must fast track and nurture him so that he could fulfil his potential‚” he said. - TMG Digital