Morne Morkel says how he impressed Kallis in his early days

Morne Morkel Kallis

Morne Morkel is regarded as one of the finest fast bowlers to have represented South Africa, and his record across formats is nothing short of spectacular. The right-arm pacer could set the speed gun on fire, and his ability to extract extra bounce from the surface made him even more lethal. While his journey in international cricket isn’t hidden from anyone, many might not know how everything started for Morkel.

In a recent interaction, the former South Africa pacer recalled how he made his First-Class debut for the Easterns in 2004. West Indies were touring the rainbow nation in that year and were slated to play a warm-up game against Easterns. Morne’s elder brother Albie, who was part of the domestic club, recommended his sibling to be a net bowler, and the speedster bag the opportunity with both hands.

West Indies were touring South Africa, and they were playing a warm-up game against Easterns. My brother said, ‘It’s two days out from the game, they’re looking for net bowlers, come and bowl’. I went that afternoon, bowled to the Eastern boys in the nets, and the coach was: ‘What are you doing with your life?’ I said, ‘I’m not sure’. And he walked me that afternoon to his office, he gave me a rookie junior contract, and then I was contracted with a first-class team,” Morkel was quoted as saying by Wisden.

When Morne Morkel left Jacques Kallis impressed

Not long after, Morkel got to bowl against the national team when England toured South Africa. He bowled impressively in the nets, leaving talismanic all-rounder Jacques Kallis impressed. Morkel recalled Kallis was so amused by his ability that he wanted to bring the pacer in the playing XI.

I went and had a fun afternoon bowling to Kallis and Kallis walked out and he, ‘Who’s this guy bowling?’ And Ray Jennings (the coach) said, ‘It’s Albie’s brother’. Kallis was like, ‘Can we play him in a Test match tomorrow?’ And from there word of mouth went about me bowling – I was a tall guy, I got a bit of bounce but I was still lanky, I was all over the shop,” he added.

Morkel eventually made his Test debut in December 2006 and didn’t look back after that. He bowled numerous sensational spells and guided South Africa to many wins. He eventually announced retirement from international cricket in 2018 but not before scalping 535 wickets across all formats.