South African fast bowler on Monday has revealed that he felt reassured while returning to the Test cricket after a year in an interview with ESPNcricinfo before throwing some light on his mode of recovery following the long layoff as he suffered from the back injury.
“I was a little bit nervous because I hadn’t been in the field for longer than 50 overs. All those demons that were on my mind, I managed to control it and get through it. I have that peace of mind that I can play Tests again,” Morkel told ESPNcricinfo.com.
On his return to Test cricket since January last year, the right-arm fast bowler Morkel has claimed two wickets at the University of Oval in Dunedin which further saw a drawn Test after the fifth day was washed out without a bowl being bowled.
“In the back of my mind it was going to be a real test going for more than 20 overs with the ball and 100 overs in the field. The main issue was that my lower core was weak and in a way I needed to rewire my body,” Morkel said.
The Transvaal-born Morkel is happy on his return during the ongoing three-match series against New Zealand as is looking hopeful to give his best in the remainder of the matches during the ANZ series.
“One of my biggest worries was that in Dunedin I knew it was going to be cold, so I was wondering if my muscles would recover,” Morkel added.
It becomes pertinent that Morkel was told by doctors that he might not play the longer version of the game. But the well-built bowler showed the great courage and strength during the rehabilitation process to gain the full fitness before returning in the national colours.
“In the back of my mind, I didn’t believe it. For me to break that mental barrier was quite pleasing and now I can put those things to rest and just focus on cricket,’ Morkel revealed.
Earlier, Morkel also pulled out from Indian Premier League auction in a bid to complete full fitness to stay afresh for the national duties.
However, the second Test will kickstart from March 16 at Basin Reserve in Wellington, the same ground where he had registered his best figures in 2012 by claiming 6 wickets for conceding away 23 runs.
“I need to play to my strengths. I need to bowl an intimidating length and get the guys on the back foot and try and strike from there,” Morkel concluded.
Since making his international debut in June 2007, Morkel has played 72 Tests in which he has claimed 244 wickets at an average of 29.34. He has also picked six five-wicket hauls and 13 four-wicket hauls for the Proteas.