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Morkel scores a world record no one wants

Morné Morkel is disappointed but philosophical about holding the unwanted world record for most Test wickets overturned by no-balls.

His record of taking wickets off no-balls keeps increasing. In this year’s first Test against England he took his tally to 13 in the act of overstepping when he bowled Ben Stokes. Morkel’s performance was certainly one of the factors that contributed to South Africa’s 211-run defeat by England at Lord’s.

With the Proteas looking to level the four-match series in the second Test at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge, Morkel said of the Stokes “wicket”: “It’s not the first no-ball I’ve bowled in my life.

“It’s not going to end my career,” the 32-year-old told reporters. “It’s 13, yes — world record. Somebody needs to hold it. It’s 13 wickets I’d like to have in the bank, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Morkel, a veteran of 75 Tests, added: “It’s part of the game. [England] also bowled a couple of no-balls that could have easily taken a wicket.”

But Dean Elgar, who skippered the Proteas at Lord’s and will hand over to Faf du Plessis in Nottingham, described some of South Africa’s mistakes, including dropped catches and no-balls, in the first Test as “non-negotiables”.

Morkel said: “It’s not acceptable — it’s a controllable sort of thing. “I can’t make excuses.

“I need a lot of rhythm, and timing for me is crucial, and I felt the more I bowled in that Test the better my timing was. Unfortunately, I did bowl that no-ball, and that’s the sort of thing you don’t want, to give quality players extra lives … you’re going to get punished.

“The only thing I can do is keep on working on getting that foot behind the line. I think it’s just a rush of blood to the head, wanting to create something with the older ball.”

Morkel will have additional responsibility after fellow paceman Kagiso Rabada was banned from the second Test as a result of swearing at Stokes at Lord’s.

“Obviously, we’re going to miss KG — an ability to bowl long
spells fast, with a lot of energy,” said Morkel. “But it’s an opportunity
for another guy to step into his place.

“We just need to put whatever happened in the last Test behind us, with KG, with everything, and just focus on Friday.”

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