Morkel needs to vary length

I hope that time away from the international arena will give Morne Morkel a chance to regain his confidence and composure after a difficult few months. Morkel was expected to be a real force against Australia during the past summer. However, the wickets told a different story. Six wickets at an average of just over 60 wasn't the return he was looking for. His career average is just over 32, which for a bowler of his ability is too high. After the disappointment of the Australian series, Morkel had a testing time during the World T20, which culminated in him being dropped from the team. He will hopefully reflect on his bowling during the IPL and come back with a better strategy. The problem that Morkel faces is the way he constructs an over. He doesn't get the wickets he should on a regular basis because he bowls too short. A classic example of that was the first test match against the Aussies, when he bowled 22 overs in the first innings. Technology showed that only nine deliveries during the 22 would have hit the stumps. During the fascinating encounter at Newlands, when Morkel was involved in that thrilling spell bowling to Michael Clarke, he bowled just about every delivery short during that spell. It resulted in a torrid time for Clarke but he kept his wicket intact and survived that crucial phase. The comment has been passed that top batsmen in the world don't like facing Morkel and find him uncomfortable to deal with. This may be so but most world class players would rather get hit and suffer pain than get out. They all prefer deliveries out of the wicket-taking zone even though at times that may mean they have to put their bodies on the line. Morkel would do well to have a look at the strategy employed by Mitchell Johnson. Johnson is every bit as scary as Morkel but he uses the short delivery more sparingly with the intention of pushing the batsman back and setting the scene for the fuller wicket-taking delivery. He bowls the full length delivery on a regular basis, which is why he is getting wickets all the time. So the answer lies in Morkel assessing the different conditions and finding a fuller length that will result in him getting more wickets, having a better strike rate and doing justice to his ability. Hopefully, from both an individual and from a team point of view, this will happen and enable Morkel to once again be the asset we know he can be.