Defiant Morkel: ‘I am not a swing bowler’


South Africa paceman Morne Morkel has opened up about bowling with aggression and hit back at critics of the length he bowls, saying he doesn't consider himself to be a swing bowler.

Morkel has played 71 Tests and 106 ODIs for South Africa, and his partnership with Dale Steyn has spear-headed the Proteas’ attack for some time now.  

While the pair have formed one of the most devastating partnerships in international cricket, Morkel has often been criticized for bowling too short.

In a recent Q&A on Cricinfo, Morkel hit back at critics: “I get criticised a lot for bowling the wrong lengths, but the thing people don't understand is, I am not a swing bowler.”

“I get a lot of bounce, and I want to use that as much as possible. If I go fuller, I don't swing the ball, so it is actually a free hit for the batsmen. It is that sort of a fight with the media I have had, where they have wanted me to bowl fuller for ten years.”

Morkel’s aggressive style and penchant for rib-ticklers have allowed him to form a deadly partnership with Steyn. Speaking of bowling with Steyn, Morkel remarked: “I was getting the guys on the back foot. Dale then got the ball a little further up and swung the ball.

"That made us a lethal combination with the different styles we brought to the middle.”

When asked if it was always his goal to push the batsman back, Morkel replied: “No, I wouldn't really say that.

"I have learned now to do that and go fuller. My aim was just to help the bowler at the other end. If we were leaking runs, to bring the run rate back.”

While Morkel’s length and pace scream aggression, the big fast bowler has never been one to get in a batsman’s face.

Morkel explains:  “Batsmen are aware of what I can do. So I don't have to do verbal. I don't have to do anything that is not me. I like to stay in my zone. I like to stay focused, in my bubble. For me it is more about having a quick little stare at the batsman and having strong body language.”

Morkel has featured for the Kolkata Knight Riders in this year’s IPL, but will link up with the rest of the SA squad to prepare for a triangular ODI series in the West Indies once the IPL concludes.