Mor­ris makes wel­come re­turn for SA

Af­ter six months on the side­lines the big-hit­ting Ti­tans all-rounder is rar­ing to have a go against vis­it­ing Sri Lanka

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - ZAAHIER ADAMS

CMor­ris, has a pen­chant for “mis­plac­ing” im­por­tant things, like when he ar­rived in the UK for the ICC Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy with­out any shoes or lost his pass­port days be­fore he flew out to join the IPL for the first time.

Those who know him con­vince them­selves that it’s all part of the “Mor­ris charm”.

How­ever, hav­ing to put up with this de­gree of neg­li­gence, for the best part of six months on a daily ba­sis, will test even the most pa­tient of souls.

Mor­ris’ fam­ily would have HRIS breathed a sigh of re­lief then that he was at least al­lowed out on the golf course while he was re­cov­er­ing from a long-term knee in­jury that kept him out of com­pet­i­tive cricket since last July.

“I played a lot of golf. That was my first ques­tion to our physio: ‘Can I play golf ?’ and he said: ‘If an 80-year-old can play golf, then I think you can play golf’. “That was my sav­ing grace – it kept the hand­eye co-or­di­na­tion in­tact,” Mor­ris. “But I think the won­der­ful thing about the game is that it finds a way for you to miss it. I can con­fi­dently say that af­ter about six weeks I was miss­ing the game hor­ri­bly.”

Mor­ris’ ef­fer­ves­cent per­son­al­ity would cer­tainly have been push­ing him hard on the in­side to re­turn sooner than he ac­tu­ally did. But the 29-yearold was in se­vere pain, of­ten caus­ing him to wake up dur­ing the night in a cold sweat. It saw him play his first com­pet­i­tive match only a fort­night ago when the Ti­tans faced the Highveld Li­ons in a Sun­foil Se­ries clash.

Mor­ris didn’t set the world alight, scor­ing 39 and claim­ing five wick­ets in that game, but more im­por­tantly he had emerged pain free from the four-day fix­ture.

“I bowled 40 overs, wel­come back Mor­ris,” the all-rounder chirped.

The fact that Mor­ris got through such a work­load in his come­back match was enough to con­vince the na­tional se­lec­tors that he was ready for an in­ter­na­tional re­call and was im­me­di­ately in­cluded in the ODI squad for the Sri Lankan se­ries that gets un­der­way in Port El­iz­a­beth to­mor­row.

This will cer­tainly be an im­por­tant se­ries in Mor­ris’ road to full re­cov­ery. While he was be­com­ing bet­ter ac­quainted with the Highveld’s finest fair­ways dur­ing his re­cov­ery, there were a cou­ple of young all-rounders im­pres­sively fill­ing the breach.

For­mer Li­ons team­mate Dwaine Pre­to­rius put in a cou­ple of solid per­for­mances, while Dol­phins star­let Andile Phehluk­wayo was out­stand­ing dur­ing the 5-0 white­wash of Aus­tralia last year.

Throw the enig­matic Wayne Par­nell into the mix and sud­denly an area that South Africa were ail­ing in, af­ter Jac­ques Kal­lis’ re­tire­ment, has be­come a strength again.

Coach Rus­sell Domingo has al­ready pub­li­cally em­pha­sised that the up­com­ing se­ries against the Sri Lankans and the sub­se­quent New Zealand ODI se­ries will have a huge bear­ing on which all-rounders the Proteas take to the ICC Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy in Eng­land later this year.

Se­lec­tion for the global show­piece would be ex­tra spe­cial for Mor­ris as his in­ter­na­tional ca­reer would have come full cir­cle af­ter mak­ing his ODI de­but in the same tour­na­ment four years.

“It will be nice to be in the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy squad, but if it’s not my time, it’s not my time,” Mor­ris said philo­soph­i­cally. “I just want to play cricket. If I’m not se­lected for the Proteas, I will play for the Ti­tans.”

In Mor­ris’ own words “there has been a lot noise around Kol­paks” but he is not en­ter­tain­ing thoughts of an English county ca­reer.

“There has been a lot of noise about Kol­pak ev­ery­where. I don’t think it’s just ham­pered me, I think it’s ham­pered a few peo­ple. I had a good sit down with our coach, Mark Boucher, in terms of the Kol­pak sit­u­a­tion. There weren’t any of­fers on the ta­ble, just a lot of noise around it,” Mor­ris ex­plained.

“I’ve com­mit­ted to CSA. I’ve told the se­lec­tors that I want to play cricket for my coun­try.”

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