Batsman Morris Grows as a Cricketer
When Chris Morris first showed up as an interesting blip on the IPL radar, in 2013, he was sitting in the dressing-room at the diamond mining town of Kimberly with teammates. They were crouched around an iPad, watching the IPL auction unfold. Morris, who had a base price of $20,000 became the subject of a bidding war between three franchises, and this was a time when Chennai Super Kings went the extra mile for a cricketer they wanted.
When the bidding dust settled, Morris had $ 625,000. He said then that he had never seen so much money in his life. He also said that he had never been to India, only that he heard from Faf du Plessis that Indians were cricket crazy and that it was very hot. On Wednesday night, around 27,000 Indians at the Ferozeshah Kotla, and countless ones watching on television, went Morris-crazy. A f t e r movi n g f r om Chen n a i to Rajasthan Royals, two highly successful teams who aren’t around at the moment, Morris found his latest IPL home with Delhi Daredevils. When he walked out to bat against Gujarat Lions, the game was as good as over, 126 needed from 56 balls with little batting to follow. No pressure, then. Why not swing for the fences?
“I don’t know who told you there was no pressure. There was a lot of pressure. The runs were not coming. I had a chat with Rahul (Dravid, the team mentor) just before I went in to bat. I said to him, ‘If I’m going, I’ll go at it from ball one’. He said give yourself one or two,” said Morris after his eye-catching unbeaten 82 took Delhi to within two runs of a stunning win. ”It was quite simple what I needed to do – play some big shots and get some runs. Luckily, it worked today.” When Morris got rich the first time around at the IPL auctions, he did not go out and buy a sports car, or a holiday in Monte Carlo. He bought his parents a house. Chris, who idolises his father Willie, a left-arm spinner who turned out for Northern Transvaal, might bat like a millionaire, but he c e r t a i n ly d id n’t spend like one. On what was undoubtedly his day, Morris was characteristically understated. “Probably yeah, this was my best innings in T20 cricket. I could have hit one straight (off the) first ball and looked like an absolute idiot,” said Morris. “Today was my day. It is upsetting we lost though.”
Morris took apart pretty much all the bowlers who tried to get past his bat, and this wasn’t a coincidence. “We didn’t target any bowler. We targeted the short boundary more than the bowler, actually. As I said, it was a quite a good wicket. It was skidding on nicely, with all the dew,” said Morris, whose hits would have cleared the longest boundary in the biggest ground in the world. “But JP [Duminy], you know, played one hell of a knock. Unfortunately when he got out, it was a vital part of the game. It set up the game.” On a day when everyone was talking about him, and his innings, Morris spoke about every else around him. “That’s the genius of Rahul Dravid and Paddy Upton (the head coach) ,” said Morris. “There are not going to tell you not to do something or to do something. They give you something to think about. You use it or don’t use it, but they let you grow as a cricketer.”
When someone is hitting it like Morris did on Wednesday, there’s little anyone needs.
Around 27,000 Indians at the Kotla, and countless ones watching on TV, went Morris-crazy