Mor­gan takes the Heat for fail­ures

With his team at the bot­tom of the log, there’s no ex­cuses

Sunday Times - - Sport Cricket / Results - By KHANYISO TSHWAKU [email protected]­day­,za

● Durban Heat coach Grant Mor­gan is well versed in tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Re­gard­ing the mess that’s his Mzansi Super League unit, he’s put his head above the para­pet and is fac­ing all the bul­lets.

In an age in which coaches rou­tinely hide be­hind pro­cesses, the buck has stopped with the 47-year-old.

“I’m the coach of the side and I take own­er­ship of the team. We’ve had de­cent plans linked to our team and we haven’t ex­e­cuted. It’s my fault if the team doesn’t fire be­cause the play­ers I have here are pro­fes­sion­als and I can’t tell them how to play. Our plans are good and some­times in life peo­ple just don’t per­form and I take re­spon­si­bil­ity for that,” Mor­gan said.

“We did ev­ery­thing right but you have to have teams that fin­ish first and last. How we’ve found our­selves in this po­si­tion, I don’t know. Things hap­pen in cricket but if we lose an­other game, it doesn’t mean I’ve be­come a bad coach with the same ap­ply­ing to the play­ers. Peo­ple want an­swers and if I’m con­demned as the s ****** coach in SA, then so be it. I’m not one of those coaches who run

I’m the coach ... and I take own­er­ship of the team

Grant Mor­gan

Durban Heat coach

from own­er­ship. I’ve tried my best.”

The equaliser in the MSL was the player draft where all teams had an equal op­por­tu­nity to get their pre­ferred picks.

The gen­eral con­sen­sus was that the Heat had a strong unit, which Mor­gan agreed with. How­ever, the ap­pear­ance of a strong team sheet and the re­al­ity of putting to­gether strong per­for­mances are dif­fer­ent.

“We served our peo­ple by cre­at­ing an ex­pec­ta­tion that we picked a good side. We must have done a job by at least do­ing that well. These things work on mo­men­tum and even though we lost to the Blitz, we won our sec­ond game but we haven’t been able to get mo­men­tum,” Mor­gan said.

“When the cal­i­bre of play­ers we have here don’t fire, these are fan­tas­tic play­ers who work hard but that leaves you in a po­si­tion where you say: What do you do? How­ever, you need the whole team to fire to­gether and big play­ers to fire. They’re hu­man be­ings and it’s like horserac­ing where you think you’ve backed the right horse. Even though it’s try­ing, it’s just not its day.”

For­tune, mo­men­tum and in­abil­ity to avoid los­ing wick­ets in clus­ters have been cited as rea­sons for the Heat’s fail­ure to fire.

The odd­ity was that they didn’t start very badly. In their open­ing game against the Cape Town Blitz, bat­ting and bowl­ing mo­ments of magic from Asif Ali (80 off 33 balls) and An­rich Nortje (4/32) swung the pen­du­lum in the Blitz’s favour.

It looked like a small mo­ment then but in the tour­na­ment’s long run, the Ash­well Prince team got bet­ter and the Heat, even though they won their rain-cur­tailed game against the Tsh­wane Spar­tans, re­gressed. Mor­gan un­der­stood that luck man­u­fac­tures it­self but from his team’s per­spec­tive, it and the other fac­tors, con­spired against them in ev­ery pos­si­ble way. The Heat, who hosted the Jozi Stars on Fri­day, can’t fin­ish higher than third.

“You make your own luck but that very same thing can be the cat­a­lyst. I re­mem­ber Jaque Fourie’s try against the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Li­ons and if he had stepped ei­ther side of the touch-line, that would have been the dif­fer­ence be­tween that coach (Peter de Vil­liers) win­ning the se­ries. Those are the kind of mar­gins you deal with in T20 cricket,” Mor­gan said.

“You make your own luck and your shot from the fair­way is onto the green even though there’s a tree. We’ve some­times been in the po­si­tion where there’s been a tree in the fair­way for us. Even when Reeza Hen­dricks made the first ton of the tour­na­ment against us last week, there were Chi­nese cuts and balls be­ing carved over point from the back of the bat and hence Reeza is a ge­nius.”

Pic­ture: Gallo Im­ages

Reeza Hen­dricks, left, who has scored two MSL hun­dreds, has al­ready stated what he does in this tour­na­ment will have no bear­ing on World Cup se­lec­tion. How­ever, he re­mains in the se­lec­tion pic­ture. He also scored the tour­na­ment’s first ton.

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