TELFORD VICE, Cape Town
EVEN cricket’s nicest man has his limits. And it seems he has reached them, admitting to suffering from “cabin fever” caused by Bangladesh’s monsoon rain, being “hungry” to get out there and do his thing, dismissing the sultry heat he will have to overcome to do so, and even having the merest moan about Dhaka’s diabolical traffic.
“We’re very happy,” Morne Morkel told a press conference when he was asked whether the sun’s all too rare appearance in the nation’s capital on Tuesday had given the SA squad reasons to be cheerful about their preparations for the second test, which starts there on Thursday.
“We had a bit of cabin fever sitting at the hotel. There are 11 hungry players in the changeroom. We can take the heat – bring the sun out.”
Incongruously given all that, Morkel was then asked if he was enjoying the tour.
“People here go out of their way to make us feel at home,” he said. “Just one thing … the traffic is not fun.”
Which, for someone who wouldn’t know a snarky comment if it smacked him upside the head, was tantamount to a tantrum.
But, with the last two days of the first test in Chittagong lost to rain, SA are under pressure to win in Dhaka to clinch the series. However, the weather looks just as likely to bedevil the second test.
Of course, had SA not found a way to lose the one-day series they could have shrugged their way through the downpours as something they could do nothing about and accepted a drawn test rubber as just one of those things.
That option is no longer available. Winning the test series won’t make up for the ODI catastrophe, but not winning it will make that memory so much worse.
“It’s time for us to bounce back and show why we’re the No. 1 team in the world,” Morkel said.
A silver lining in all of those dark clouds – of the metaphorical variety, anyway – is the prospect of Dale Steyn taking the one wicket he needs to become the only South African besides Shaun Pollock to claim 400 test scalps.
The very thought was enough to put Morkel back onto the positive straight and narrow.
“Dale’s been unbelievable,” he said. “He’s led this attack for years; he’s been the No. 1 test bowler for years. I’m so happy for him.
“It’ll be special when he gets that 400th wicket but I think there’s plenty more in the tank for him.”
And what was Morkel looking forward to in the match? Nothing less than a low and slow pitch. Dinkum. We kid you not.
“I enjoy bowling on the sub-continent because I don’t get as much bounce as in SA, so it brings me more into play,” he said.
Believe that and you might also believe there’s not a lot of traffic in Dhaka.