Morkel, Morris, Philander fit to play

Morne Morkel, who was out due to a side strain since October, has been declared fit ahead of the India series, says the head of Cricket South Africa medical committee.

Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander: Set for return to international cricket.   -  Getty Images

The South African cricket team may have earned the ‘chokers’ tag in international cricket, but when playing at home, it has bowlers who can choke any opposition. Till last season, most of their speedsters stayed out of action owing to injuries. But the days of struggle are over. Since last week, all the frontline pacers are back to the nets. They, of course, are preparing for the high profile series against India in January.

Last month, Dr Shuaib Manjra — head of Cricket South Africa medical committee — told Sportstar that Dale Steyn is free of injuries and ready to take on India; but there were doubts over Morne Morkel and Vernon Philander.

Morkel, who shared the new ball with Steyn during India’s last visit in 2013, is slowly gaining confidence bowling in South Africa’s domestic T20 competition for the Titans. “Morne is back and fit to play. He is doing fine and he is also expected to play in the international (four-day Test) against Zimbabwe (starting December 26),” Dr Manjra told Sportstar this week.

READ: Dale Steyn ready for India series

“Even Vernon and Chris Morris are back to bowling. There are no more injury concerns among pacers in the team,” he confirmed.

However, Titans coach Mark Boucher didn’t pick Steyn for the final of the T20 tournament against the Dolphins. It has been learnt that the veteran is being rested as he has also been named in the South African Invitational XI squad, which will host Zimbabwe for a three-day match in Paarl on December 20.

On return, Morkel picked up two wickets in the T20 challenge followed by impressive figures of 5/20 and 2/23 in the three-day cup for the Easterns. Philander could only manage four wickets in six games. Morris — who started his season from December 1 for the Titans — claimed eight wickets, including a 4/13, in five games.

“The selectors are likely to announce the South African squad for the India series by next week,” informed Dr Manjra.