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Have South Africa been fair to Chris Morris?

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Chris_Morris_South_Africa_CricketIf you are an admirer of Chris Morris, you are more likely to derive contentment from merely seeing highlights of his T20 exploits that most recently came in the 2017 IPL.

The reason for Morris being seen either in T20s for South Africa or at the most in freelancing tournaments like IPL is a mystery stranger than the Bermuda Triangle and something in front of which even political dub-smashes like Trump’s election seem like ordinary botch-ups.

Just for a recount, Morris represented Delhi, who finished yet again on 6th spot. Despite having a mentor like Rahul Dravid, the Daredevils who hardly looked the part didn’t exactly benefit from Zaheer-Khan’s leadership, finishing with 6 wins from 14 games, looking the part of exasperated runner who gave up even before half distance was clocked. 

That’s precisely where Morris didn’t look frail or perturbed. Striking some remarkably quick scores tied to a fifty- 52* against Mumbai- he was both a quick scorer and a bowler with brisk pace.

But where Morris mattered, much like he did even last year for a lowly-placed Delhi when he garnered 195 from 8 games, striking 12 half a dozens (around half of his IPL collection), in addition to scalping 13 wickets- was his solid dependability for Delhi’s foreign outsourcing need. 

So can Morris, someone who’s been given only diminutive stints of 2 Tests and 23 ODIs for South Africa provoke selectors to include him more often for the Proteas?

Unfortunately, he has only current IPL performances to brag about. And he didn’t disappoint Zaheer or Dravid.

In gathering 154 runs, effectively from 5 innings, since he remained unbeaten on 4 occasions, Morris struck precious runs for a waning side, clubbing big hits at a strike rate of 163, whilst collecting 12 wickets from 9 games, in addition to 2 fighting fifties. 

So why is Morris not given an adequate chance to prove himself in other formats? 

It’s a question that no lover of the Proteas can answer but something that apparently upsets as much as it beguiles the genuine fan of their game.

However, what seems most unfathomable when analyzing the future of 30-year-old Pretoria- born is him being overlooked despite performing in the little opportunities he’s been given. 

Why Morris was let off from the Test circuit in 2016, where despite scoring a 69 in his debut against England, when he outscored even Elgar and de Kock, is something that sadly doesn’t trouble South Africa’s selectors. 

Not least Faf Du Plessis, who has hailed Morris’ natural caliber.

Despite being given no more than 3 Tests, Morris was able to clinch a fifty and maintain a decent batting average of 30, being naturally more of a bowling- all rounder. Not that his dainty Test figures amount to a significant argument in his favor, but scalping 4 wickets from 2 innings make too insufficient a reason for the Proteas to have not considered the right arm bowler who can club massive blows with utter disdain, in addition to disturbing batsmen’s timber.

Klusener’s virtuosity, if not his magnetic charm

While Delhi Daredevil’s hearty trier may not bring the same immensity of joy you felt so profusely when a Klusener pummeled opponents, Chris Morris, who bats in the same lower order as his compatriot, is significantly better than David Wiese who’s often persisted with.

But, David Wiese, also an all rounder and a year older than Morris, has scored 120 runs and claimed 20 fewer scalps than the Pretorian. 

Morris’ ODI figures are better even than Kyle Abbott, who until recently was a regular feature in South Africa’s playing eleven. 

Kyle, with nearly the same rate of collecting wickets as that of Morris, wasn’t quite a contributor with the bat that Morris is. Morris brings an experience of 1090 plus Twenty20 runs and nearly 250 ODI runs from 14 games, brings a better T20 bowling average of 20.16 vis-à-vis Abbott’s 22 turned. 

Test Cricket - whose changing nature is best evidenced by the recent trend of more results instead of draws - seems to favor Morris’ naturally attacking game. If he can score through big shots, he can fend off a yorker and can hold on to his own during punishing sessions favoring bowlers on slow, turning wickets. We got an exemplary instance of the above in 2016’s IPL game against the Gujarat Lions where Morris showed his firepower, reaching a magnificent 32-ball 82 with some brute hitting.

So whether Faf and co. decide to press the South African selectors into bringing more of Morris in their long format games is not in our hands. What certainly is, is probably the TV remote that, despite an odd technical glitch here and there seems to be getting stuck on Chris Morris, whenever a recent IPL knock dazzles on the screen. 

So what’s your plan of action for Chris Morris? Will you be flipping the TV channel or wait for further action till Morris’ name appears regularly in the South African ODI and Test teams again?

 

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