Bats­man Mor­ris Grows as a Crick­eter

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games - Anand Vasu

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

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