New Delhi: South African allrounder Albie Morkel, who hit a seven-ball 28 to propel Chennai Super Kings to an improbable last-ball win over Royal Challengers Bangalore on Thursday, is hoping that his IPL exploits help establish himself as a regular in South Africa’s squads for all formats.
Morkel's performance for defending champions Chennai helped the team score what appeared an impossible 43 off 12 balls as they chased down a target of 206, the second highest chase in IPL history. With the ICC World Twenty20 to be held in Sri Lanka in September, Morkel hoped the South African selectors were keeping tabs on his IPL 5 performances.
"I am sure they are keeping a close watch on my performance. The IPL is in world space and every one watches it. It is tough cricket. You have fantastic mix of Indian and foreign players. Sometimes it is tougher than international cricket with so much travelling involved,” he said. “The next big thing is the Twenty20 World Cup. I have planned my winter in such a way that I am active till the tournament. Next I will be playing county cricket for Somerset and hopefully will be selected for the England tour in July-August.”
Morkel’s brother, the fast bowler Morne, has cemented his place in South Africa’s Test and ODI teams while Morkel has only managed one Test match since making his international appearance in 2004. However, he was not concerned about what critics had to say and was focused on performing for a franchise and his country.
"That sort of stuff does not bother me anymore. Earlier, I would have taken pressure on myself as to why I am not a regular in the team but now I am much more relaxed. I just try to give my best on the field. In my younger days, I would try to win every match but now I have mellowed down," he said. "The last few series I have been part of the national squad and hopefully I will stay there for long. It is every cricketer’s dream to play for the country. If it has to happen, it will happen. I am not going to put pressure on myself.”
In regards to the IPL, Morkel said that being a part of the Chennai side since the inception of the league in 2008 had helped him immensely. "A lot of other guys move from franchise to franchise every season but for me the change doesn't help. Once you know what you get from a certain franchise like Super Kings, you feel at home. I think it is a very good thing," he said.
The 30-year-old attributed Chennai’s success as an IPL franchise – they have won the title twice – to their retaining the core of the team. "One of the main reasons the team has been successful is that they have retained players. The team owners prepare the side in such a way that all the IPL glamour is taken away and the focus is on cricket," he said.