Albie Morkel comes from a cricketing family, with brother Morne playing alongside him in the national team, while his father, Albert Morkel, played domestic cricket for South Africa during the Apartheid era.
He has been labeled the next Lance Klusener of South Africa due to strong showings in the domestic circuit. Many hope that he can fill the big void left by Zulu.
He has been an important part of the ODI squad, and his performances for South Africa during that glorious summer of 2008-09 in Australia confirmed his growing stature. Morkel's power hitting gave South Africa the crucial edge in the first ODI against Australia in Melbourne in 2009. His 18 ball 40 helped South Africa win a close match and this set the tone for South Africa's first ODI series win in Australia. His consistent efforts during the series won him his first Man of the Series award.
He has maintained that level of aggression with the bat in all three formats, though his bowling at times can range from erratic to economical. His returns don't make particularly good reading, but he has contributed at crucial times with the ball when the team has needed him.
His strike rates in all three formats of the game suggest that he has the potential to be a very destructive batting all rounder in the game. A strike rate of 81 plus in tests, 139 in T-20s and 102 in ODIs, show that Albie in the mood is as hard-hitting as they come. His power-hitting has helped him bag an T20-League contract with the Chennai and he has been the vital cog in Chennai's good run during both T20-Leagues, averaging around 30 with a strike rate of 145.
The time may be coming for his biggest contribution yet to South Africa. It remains to be seen how much he can maintain the momentum, but the journey has been good for Albie so far. He might have been a little overshadowed by brother Morne's recent exploits, but South Africa would not mind the brotherly rivalry, as long as results are not affected.
by Siddharth Vishwanathan