South African pace legend Morne Morkel was happy to survive his comeback match unscathed after being an X-factor in Brisbane Heat’s five Wicket BBL wins against the Melbourne Renegades

Morkel, who underwent ankle surgery last year and spent five months on the sidelines, replaced Xavier Bartlett in the middle of the first innings in Canberra on Thursday evening

But the 36-year-old admitted he had doubts that coach Darren Lehmann would enforce the pre-game plan to get him after seeing Bartlett make an instant impression in the first game

First year BBL seaman Bartlett caught dangerous Renegades batsman Shaun Marsh lbw and finished 2-1 on his only finish before making way for his new and far more experienced teammate

Morkel paid back Lehmann’s faith by claiming 1-29 out of four overs and showed that he can be a force in the coming weeks as the fifth placed Heat pushes for a place in the final

“I wasn’t entirely sure if Xavier was bowling this nicely at first, and since the boys were doing pretty well it was Touch and Go,” said Morkel

“But I was pretty happy to get the call at the 10-over mark to get on the field and the bowl

“You can only do so much bowling on the nets, you have to go out and step in the middle and it’s just nice to be out there”

Morkel is one of the greatest players in South Africa in modern times and, with 309 victims at the age of 27, is fifth among the test wicket takers of Proteas66

But he admitted that his comeback match, which was also his debut for the Heat, was a bit “stressful”

That was even though there were no spectators at Manuka Oval for a match that was hastily postponed due to interstate travel restrictions

“For me it’s a new team and always a newcomer when you join a team that you want to play well and get started early

The Heat hopes to benefit from Morkel’s presence on and off the field as he shares his wisdom with Mark Steketee, Jack Wildermuth and Bartlett

“I was disappointed with X (Bartlett) when he went into hiding tonight, but this is all about reading the terms and we have a bowling session for us with lots of options”

Morkel will be back in the heat when they take on the Perth Scorchers in Melbourne on Tuesday night

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Morne Morkel

World news – AU – Morkel happy as Heat’s Big Bash X-Factor