Albie Morkel says he has thoroughly enjoyed his time as captain of the Titans, calling them a dream T20 outfit as they prepare for the RamSlam T20 Challenge final against the Dolphins at Centurion on Saturday.
Morkel, who has played more T20 matches (284) than anyone except for West Indian Kieron Pollard (299), was a slightly surprising choice as limited-overs captain of the Titans given that his last leadership experience was at school, but he has done an outstanding job in leading his team to eight successive wins and top of the log by a mile.
“It’s my first season as captain and I’ve learnt lots and I’m still learning. The biggest thing is to trust my gut feeling, which comes with experience – and I’ve played a lot of T20cricket. When I started I was very hesitant to make funky calls – like using a spinner for the first or third over – but now I really trust my gut feeling. All the former captains I spoke to say you must trust that.
“Also, if you look at the team we’ve got, it’s a really good T20 side: We’ve got eight good bowlers, explosive batsmen and a tremendous opening partnership. What you need is good starts because that allows the bigger hitters the platform to perform,” Morkel said.
The all-rounder pointed to the number of bowlers the Titans have as being a key strength.
“I’ve seen some teams pick just five bowlers, but in my opinion you can’t do that because there’s always one or two bowlers that the opposition gets after. We have eight bowlers, which may even be one too many, including three very different spinners – a wrist-spinner, an offie and a slow left-armer. And none of them are part-timers, they’re all serious bowlers when the conditions suit them. So I’m able to just juggle the bowlers and play what I see in front of me. I mustn’t get emotional about someone not getting an over,” Morkel said.
After their epic victory in the last final the Titans played in – the Momentum One-Day Cup showdown against the Cape Cobras in February – Morkel (the man of the match in Cape Town after his sensational unbeaten century) says the preparation this week is just focused on getting mentally ready.
“In previous years the Titans have maybe stood back a bit in difficult times, but this side has all bases covered. We’ve defended some really low scores, we’ve set high totals and we’ve bowled the opposition out for low scores. I don’t foresee any problems with freezing on the day, our training this week is just about getting in the right frame of mind, re-energising and getting in the right space.
“Finals don’t come around that often, in 12 years with the Titans I’ve only played in two or three, so it’s a great occasion. There’s nothing better than sitting in the changeroom after a very successful campaign … with the trophy of course,” Morkel said.