Morne Morkel’s return for the Titans’ final two round robin games of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge is significant for two reasons.
Most obviously, it gives Proteas coach the luxury of yet another experienced seamer in the mix before India and Australia come to tour later this season.
Depth had been a problem at national level in September and October’s series against Bangladesh.
Morkel himself had only played in the first Test in Potchefstroom before withdrawing with a side strain.
He’s the last player of a group featuring Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Lungi Ngidi and Chris Morris to return from injury in the T20 tournament.
The 33-year-old veteran’s return also fits into the Titans’ plans perfectly.
With back-to-back games this weekend against the Cape Cobras and Dolphins, the Centurion-based franchise probably can’t afford to play their best team.
“If we play our best XI for these last two games then we basically just give ourselves one day’s preparation for the semi-final, so I certainly don’t have a problem giving other players an opportunity,” coach Mark Boucher told the Titans’ website.
As a result, Morkel would be an ideal player to use as way of managing the rest of the attack.
Elder brother and captain Albie had said earlier in the campaign that he doubted Morne would play much in the tournament.
Expectations then of him performing wouldn’t be all that high.
Instead, he can ease himself back in – likely against the Dolphins on Sunday – as the Titans don’t necessarily need to win since they have already qualified for the last four.
“We have some awesome players who haven’t even played a game yet, they’re itching to get on the park, so that will ensure there’s no complacency,” said Boucher.
Morkel’s partner-in-crime Dale Steyn has also been excellent but is expected to only play at Newlands as he rests for the knockouts.