Welcome back big fella
I remember standing behind the nets in England in 2012 when South Africa were training at Headingley. Jacques Kallis walked into the net and, before taking guard, bee-lined to me, raised his eyes, pointed to the guy about to steam in, and shook his head.
The practice session was two days before the second test, which turned out to be a very memorable one for many reasons. Think KP, think his blistering century, think his texts, and think the subsequent England fallout for the next test at Lord's, which South Africa won to displace England at the top of the test rankings.
This training session at Headingley was intense and the quicks were full steam ahead as a final run. Kallis said to me that the last guy in the world he wanted to face right then was that tall lanky bloke.
To be fair, not many batsmen operating in the test arena fancied fronting up to him at his best and he has always been particularly potent against left-handers. Just ask Andrew Strauss. His long levers, his subsequent extra bounce, his immediate pace, his natural length and his glove-smashing ability separated him from most.
The last time I saw him 'gunning it' was in the Caribbean Premier League in July last year. Mid-event he suddenly returned home and injury banished him to the side-lines. He toured Australia a few months later but did not bowl a ball in anger. His future seemed very uncertain.
It is only recently that he has divulged the inner turmoil that has been causing him so much anguish. Throughout his career he has been one of the hardest workers I have ever seen. Day after day, while on tour, I would witness this lone figure running in constantly until he had worked out some technical kink that was troubling him. He is a perfectionist.
He is one wicket away from joining a very elite bunch of test bowlers. He needs just one stick to become only the sixth South African to notch up 250 test wickets.
He has now recovered from a back injury that was so threatening that medical advice suggested he hang up his test bowling boots. I know him well enough to realise that his injury torment would have stressed him enormously.
I was delighted to see him immediately in the thick of things with his signature extreme pace in his first over back in action in Wellington recently. His instant impact sent three of New Zealand’s top four smartly back to the shed.
Morne Morkel is a champion and we should all be delighted that such a quality individual is back in national colours.
One more wicket big fella... then enjoy the accolades coming your way. I will in particular note those from his peers.