Chris Morris: The underutilised batsman
A look at Morris' ability with the bat.
Chris Morris is a high impact T20 player. He bowls with express pace and has immense control over swing and length and is highly effective during the death overs. While batting, he can hit massive sixes with ease and can also play the role of a finisher to perfection.
However, it seems that IPL teams so far have failed to utilise his complete potential. Teams have used his bowling skills to good effect but his batting still remains highly underutilised.
The south-African all-rounder began his IPL career in 2013 but has so far managed to face only 265 balls which clearly means he hasn’t got enough opportunities with the bat.
One reason for this is that he has constantly changed franchises. In the span of four years, he has played for three teams. He represented Chennai Super Kings in 2013 and later moved to Rajasthan Royals. Since 2016, he has been a part of Delhi Daredevils’ squad.
The table indicates that before 2015, Morris’ batting abilities were almost completely ignored and it was in 2016 that the team management utilised his batting skills to some effect.
CSK had a deep batting line-up and hence Morris didn’t get enough opportunities to showcase his prowess with the bat. However, since moving to the Delhi Daredevils, who do not have a ‘finisher’ in their team, Morris has risen to the occasion by playing some vital cameos.
No opportunities to bat at the top
Despite displaying his skills with the bat, the South-African all-rounder has been forced to bat in the lower order most of the time.
Morris’ statistics at number six and seven have been highly impressive and he has scored more than half of his total runs at these positions. Interestingly, his six hitting percentage is tremendous while batting at number six and despite boasting such terrific numbers, he has seldom been given a chance to prove his mettle higher up the order.
The resurgence in the Delhi camp?
Compared to the other teams, Delhi have been able to tap Morris’ potential to a greater extent. 79.49% of his total runs have come in the two years after he joined the Daredevils franchise. In the last two years, the South African all-rounder has been among the leading run scorers for Delhi and has remained one of the rare positives for the team.
Except for Morris, the remaining four players in the table above are specialist batsmen (Pant is a wicket-keeper). Aside from being the fifth highest run scorer for the team, Morris has also remained DD’s highest wicket-taker with 25 wickets in the last two years.
Not a pinch-hitter any more
One key aspect of Morris’ batting is that he is not just a pinch-hitter. About 50% of his runs have come in front of the wicket which indicates he plays with a vertical bat. Thus, unlike tailenders who generally accumulate runs through edges and mistimed strokes, this right-hand batsman scores runs by playing proper cricket strokes.
Percentage of total balls
Dot balls form only 23.40 percent of the total balls he has faced in 2017. He has the ability to rotate the strike as evidenced by the high percentage of singles and doubles he has accumulated in IPL 2017.
Can fans expect more from Morris the batsman in the coming years?
By displaying consistent performances with the bat in the last two years, Morris has established himself as an effective all-rounder. While the fans didn’t see the South African’s true potential in IPL 2017, the Delhi management may provide him with more opportunities in the coming years.
It is high-time that IPL franchises consider Morris a genuine batsman and provide him with a slot higher up the order.