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Morkel aims to be pride of South Africa

We'll do it for the team stalwarts. That's the message from South Africa all-rounder Albie Morkel, who says winning the ICC Champions Trophy would be a fitting result for the players who are nearing the end of their illustrious careers

Morkel aims to be pride of South Africa - Cricket News
We'll do it for the team stalwarts. That's the message from South Africa all-rounder Albie Morkel, who says winning the ICC Champions Trophy would be a fitting result for the players who are nearing the end of their illustrious careers.

From the present side, only Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher and Makhaya Ntini were part of the team that won its only ICC title in Dhaka in 1998 when the Proteas defeated the West Indies by four wickets in the final of what was then known as the ICC Knock-out.

"We need to win this tournament for the people of South Africa, supporters of the South Africa team and also for the players who are in the twilight of their magnificent careers as they would like to improve their CVs and reflect proudly on their careers whenever they decide to call it a day," a soft-spoken Morkel said.

"Most of the stalwarts in the present side have achieved everything in their careers except winning a global tournament. For the younger generation in the team, I think it's a new challenge to step up, rise to the occasion and help them win a major tournament.

"This is our first assignment after the ICC World Twenty20 2009 so there is all the more reason that we should start our season on a winning note.

"I thought in England we showed the world that we were the best until the semi-final when Shahid Afridi just took the match away from us," said the 28-year-old from Vereenigning, who has played one Test and 40 ODIs for South Africa.

And he continued by saying: "It is also about time that we put our names on one of the trophies as the record shows we haven't won anything in 11 years and that's not great.

"We have come very close to winning some titles on a number of times but have never been able to win them. We have been carrying the tag of chokers for a long time but the players know that we are not chokers. I guess we require more luck in decisive games and we also need to play a bit better.

"We have an excellent and well-balanced side with a very heavy top six and backed up by fast bowlers who have the capacity and ability to run through any batting line-up.

"I think 50-over tournaments provide a better winning chance to the good teams. But this will be one of the toughest events I will be involved with as it has a very challenging format which doesn't allow for any relaxation as every match counts.

"I think the pressure will always be on the top four title contenders South Africa, Australia, India and, on the basis of its performance in England, Pakistan," he said. "But I think South Africa will have an advantage as it will be playing in its own conditions.

"You may say we might be rusty going into the tournament having played no international cricket for nearly three months but I am sure Mickey Arthur and Graeme Smith would have drawn up some plans and we will have a few warm-up matches in the lead-up to the ICC Champions Trophy 2009."

Morkel, before bursting on the international scene, was earmarked as the next Lance Klusener of South Africa due to his hard-hitting and wicket-taking abilities. "It is a privilege to play for South Africa and an honour to be compared with Lance. But I want to leave my own legacy when I retire.

"I cherish my role as an all-rounder because I am expected to finish off the matches with a few lusty hits or by picking up few important wickets. It's an important and high-pressure job as when you grow into that role, you feel the anticipation of the people," said Morkel.

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