DURBAN – Experienced former Proteas all-rounder Albie Morkel has been selected to captain the Durban Heat for the upcoming Mzansi Super League.
The tournament starts for the Heat with a home game against the Cape Town Blitz on Sunday, 18 November.
The 37-year-old is arguably one of the most successful captains in South African franchise cricket and has played T20 cricket all over the world, including a long stint with the Chennai Super Kings in the IPL.
With 309 T20 caps to his name, Morkel’s experience is almost unmatched in the MSL and given the all-rounder’s match-winning ability with both ball and bat it was an easy decision to give him the captaincy.
The Pretoria-based man might have played cricket all over the world, however he has never left SuperSport Park, so relocating to the East Coast for the month of the Mzansi Super League will be a different experience.
“I have played my cricket in Pretoria for fifteen years so I have become very comfortable with that environment, so it is going to be an exciting challenge,” Morkel said.
“We aren’t changing franchises or anything like that, this competition is completely new with completely new squads so it’s not going to be difficult to try and convince guys to get behind the team.”
The Durban Heat squad has a sound mixture of youth and experience with the likes of Hashim Amla, David Miller and Kyle Abbott as well as youngsters Tladi Bokako, Brandon Mavuta and Okuhle Cele.
Having the experienced players at his disposal is an asset that Morkel will take advantage of throughout the competition.
“I’m not walking in there thinking that I know everything. I have a lot of senior players to get help from and I am sure we will form a nice leadership group with all the senior guys.
“I’ll have the help of those guys but it will be up to me to make the calls on the field,” Morkel added.
Durban Heat coach Grant Morgan weighed up the options and felt that through his pedigree as a T20 player Morkel was the obvious choice to take on the captaincy.
“Albie has an incredible T20 track record that includes winning big T20 tournaments,” Morgan said. “He has the respect of his players and he is a player that will be picked in the starting XI. His T20 experience around the world is virtually unparalleled which is another massive plus for us.”
Morgan and Morkel played cricket against each other many years ago, but from a professional perspective Morgan is looking forward to sharing ideas with the veteran.
“I am really looking forward to working with a player of Morkel’s class and experience,” Morgan mentioned.
The Durban Heat begin their Mzansi Super League campaign with a clash with the Cape Town Blitz on Sunday, 18 November at Kingsmead Cricket Stadium starting at 11am.
The Durban Heat squad is:
Hashim Amla, Rashid Khan, David Miller, Heinrich Klaasen, Kyle Abbott, Keshav Maharaj, Khaya Zondo, Albie Morkel, Marchant de Lange, Vernon Philander, Brandon Mavuta, Temba Bavuma, Morné van Wyk, Okuhle Cele, Sarel Erwee, Tladi Bokako, Prenelan Subrayen
Durban Heat Fixtures:
November 18: Durban Heat v Cape Town Blitz Kingsmead, Durban. 11am
November 21: Durban Heat v Tshwane Spartans Kingsmead, Durban. 2pm
November 23: Nelson Mandela Giants v Durban Heat St George’s, PE. 7pm
November 28: Durban Heat v Paarl Rocks Kingsmead, Durban. 7pm
November 30: Jozi Stars v Durban Heat Wanderers Stadium, Johannesburg. 7pm
December 2: Paarl Rocks v Durban Heat Eurolux Boland Park, Paarl. 11am
December 5:Durban Heat v Nelson Mandela Giants Kingsmead, Durban. 7pm
December 7:Durban Heat v Jozi Stars Kingsmead, Durban. 2pm
December 9:Cape Town Blitz v Durban Heat Newlands, Cape Town. 3.30pm
December 12:Tshwane Spartans v Durban Heat SuperSport Park, Centurion. 7pm
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