Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Albie Morkel's Test Debut

I waited for this for too long. It might not have been documented here, but... too long. At first it seemed almost impossible to dream up a sequence of events which would land Albie a PRIZED TEST SPOT. Meanwhile, his inappropriately-named younger brother (in that he is nowhere near as evil as his name suggests) Morné was hanging out with Ntini and Smith and basically HAVING A BLOODY GOOD TIME.

So, says Albie, what to do? What to do? He's 27 and stuck in a fucking ODI squad. The Indians adore him. DIDN'T THEY PAY MORE FOR ME THAN FOR MY BROTHER? he says.
Yes, Albie, yes they did. But they also paid more for Jacques Kallis than they did for you. So that doesn't count.

Yes, I agree, but Lance was one of the oafs who lost South Africa the 1999 World Cup. Remember that, Albie?

WELL.... FUCK, he finally concedes.
I agree, I say. But, I have a cunning plan to put into effect which may get you into the Test squad. As I smile my mysterious and slightly creepy smile, Albie looks up slowly, a glint in his eyes. A slow smile spreads onto his face, and I know what he is thinking. It is exactly what I am thinking. We will take down Morné. Oh yes, we'll make sure he spends the rest of his life eating lobster mornay, watching Albie smash the ball on telly. Brilliant. Cunning. Those are two words often used to describe me.

A trip to Mike Procter's office and a hypnotist later, it appears Morné has been dropped from the squad. Oh woe! What will we do! He showed promise, so much promise, our gargantuan fast bowler, and now he's been DROPPED! Sorry, says Albie to his younger brother, secretly hiding his smile of glee. Maybe I shouldn't have told you to pitch anything but a good length. I thought it would through the Aussies off, but it appears they just smashed you for fours all around the ground.
Well, says Albie, so did Shane Warne. But he thought about hot English nurses, Mornee-Wornee, not cricket.
Morné sighs dejectedly and cries himself to sleep that night in AB's arms. He is so glad AB de Villiers is his roommate. He spoons better than women.
Meanwhile, me and Albie are PARTYING in my house. SHAKE YO BOOTY, Albie screams in delight. I remind him he is married. Nevertheless, we party because very soon, Albie will be DEBUTING, OH YEAH.

"All you need is love, love, love."

So, talking seriously. How was Albie? He was alright. Good, even. A 58 on debut is bloody brilliant, but not as brilliant as, say, Marcus North's century, or Phil Hughes' duck. Even the duck was better than a half century. Why, you ask? Well, we all knew Hughes was going to come back again anyway. Hussey has been out of form for a while yet HE hadn't been dropped. Yet.

Albie had seen how quick the selectors were to freak out and dump McKenzie and Morné. If he really wanted to cement his place in the team he needed something AMAZING. MIND BLOWINGLY GOOD, actually. And I'm afraid 1 wicket and 58 runs doesn't quite cut it. Okay, well, the batting definitely cuts it. South Africa needs a player like him to cut in in the tail and blow the opposition's guts out. In all formats of the game, it seems.

But the bowling. 1 wicket. That hurts to look at. Harris the Monster is running around squealing in delight because he's jumped into No.8 in the top ten bowlers in the world. Hilarious. Meanwhile, Albie needed some sort of miracle Test in terms of bowling. Ponting's wicket is great, but what about the rest? Granted, he didn't get as many opportunities to cause damage as the attacking bowlers did, but he went for a few runs along the way as well. He isn't as naturally talented as Morné is, but he's more mentally prepared for bowling to a good opposition. We needed something special.

I've been waiting for Albie Morkel to debut in a Test for almost as long as I've been a cricket fan. It's pretty long. And with South Africa's explosion of excellent cricketers in recent times, to maintain a fixed place in the team, he needed to produce something extra special. Maybe he did cut it, maybe he didn't. We won't know until closer to the England series anyway. In the meantime, he's most definitely in the ODI and T20 squads, so hurray for that.

Besides, we all know he's going to blast Australia for a dozen sixes in one match, and that's ALL THAT MATTERS.

"I like to move it, move it."

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