Morné Morkel says he will keep working on getting his foot behind the line. Photo: Reuters
Morné Morkel says he will keep working on getting his foot behind the line. Photo: Reuters
This was one that stuck as Morné Morkel got rid of Liam Dawson in the first Test. Photo: Reuters
This was one that stuck as Morné Morkel got rid of Liam Dawson in the first Test. Photo: Reuters

NOTTINGHAM – Proteas fast bowler Morné Morkel is disappointed but philosophical about holding the unwanted record for most Test wickets overturned by no-balls.

Morkel took his tally to 13 in the act of over-stepping when he bowled Ben Stokes in South Africa’s 211-run first Test defeat by England at Lord’s last week.

With the Proteas looking to level the four-match series at 1-1 in the second Test at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge, starting on Friday, Morkel said of the Stokes “wicket”: “It’s not the first no-ball I’ve bowled in my life. 

“It’s not going to end my career,” the 32-year-old also told reporters at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.

“It’s 13, yes – world record.

“Somebody needs to hold it. It’s 13 wickets I’d like to have in the bank, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Morkel, a veteran of 75 Tests, added: “It’s part of the game. (England) also bowled a couple of no-balls that could have easily taken a wicket.”

But Dean Elgar, who skippered the Proteas at Lord’s but will hand over to returning captain Faf du Plessis in Nottingham, described some of South Africa’s mistakes, including dropped catches and no-balls, in the first Test as “non-negotiables”. 

The Proteas will hope that Morné Morkel will not extend his world record of 13 “wickets” with a no-ball. Photo: Reuters


“It’s not acceptable – it’s a controllable sort of thing,” Morkel said. “I can’t make excuses.

“I need a lot of rhythm and timing for me is crucial, and I felt the more I bowled in that Test, the better my timing was.

“Unfortunately I did bowl that no-ball, and that’s the sort of thing you don’t want, to give quality players extra lives... you’re going to get punished.

“The only thing I can do is keep on working on getting that foot behind the line. I think it’s just a rush of blood to the head, wanting to create something with the older ball.”

Morkel will have additional responsibility after fellow paceman Kagiso Rabada was banned from the second Test as a result of swearing at Stokes at Lord’s.

“Obviously we’re going to miss ‘KG’ – an ability to bowl long spells fast, with a lot of energy, of course we’re going to miss that,” said Morkel. “You can’t lie about that... but it’s an opportunity for another guy to step into his place and put his hand up.

“We just need to put whatever happened in the last Test behind us, with KG, with everything, and just focus on Friday.”

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