Ray Jennings explains why Chris Morris is highly sought-after in IPL
What's the story?
Former South Africa and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) coach Ray Jennings has attributed Chris Morris' top billing in the Indian Premier League (IPL) to his inherent X-factor. Hailing the South African player's prowess in limited-overs cricket, he went on to place the 30-year old among the top three all rounders in the contemporary T20 circuit.
"The way people identify talent and what that talent can actually do can be two different things. Morris hits the ball far and bowls as quickly as anyone, but you have to play to make an impact. He can be a key match-winner because he’s a genuine all-rounder with the X-factor,” Jennings was quoted as saying by sport24.
The veteran added, "When you look at the top three T20 all-rounders in the world, Morris would be there. He can change a game in an over for you - he can hit 20 runs in an over, take two or three wickets or take a great catch at gully."
Morris was one of the three players retained by Delhi Daredevils ahead of the 2018 Auction. He was retained for a whopping INR 7.1 crores, thus making him the second most expensive South African cricketer in the IPL after star batsman AB de Villiers.
The heart of the matter
Claiming that the South African setup does not give much importance to the shortest format of the game, Jennings believes that Morris gets much needed exposure in the razzmatazz of the IPL. He insisted that the right-hander's all-round skills make him a more valuable cricketer than specialists like AB de Villiers and Kagiso Rabada.
Since making his international debut in a T20I against New Zealand in December 2012, Morris has played only four Tests, 31 ODIs and 14 matches in the shortest format. While intermittent injuries as well as heavy competition for spots in the South African lineup curtailed his opportunities at the highest level, he has made rapid strides in franchise T20 cricket.
Morris played nine matches for the Daredevils in the 2017 IPL season. He scored 154 runs at a strike-rate of 163.82 and picked 12 wickets at an economy-rate of 7.74. A measure of his value in the franchise's camp can be discerned from the fact that they opted to retain him for a significant amount.
Following a handy 37 at Durban, Morris could only muster 14 runs before falling prey to Yuzvendra Chahal during the second ODI at Centurion on Sunday. Having gone wicket-less in the series thus far, he will be aiming to make a mark when the third ODI against India gets underway at Cape Town on Wednesday.
In his stop-start career for South Africa thus far, Morris has shown glimpses of his ability to change matches with both bat and all. While his performances in the 2017 IPL season were decent, the Daredevils will be expecting a lot more from him during the upcoming edition.