How Chris Morris made it to the top in cricket
- “He wasn’t even making the Northern squad, basically the Titans B side,” South African bowling coach Gordon Parsons said from Potchefstroom. But Morris’s father Willy—a respected former first-class cricketer—knew his son had it in him.
Had it not been for his father, Chris Morris wouldn’t even have played domestic cricket in South Africa. A Pretoria boy whose initial cricketing days centred around the Supersport Park at Centurion, Morris was always on the fringes of the city’s top cricket team, the Titans.
“He wasn’t even making the Northern squad, basically the Titans B side,” South African bowling coach Gordon Parsons said from Potchefstroom. But Morris’s father Willy—a respected former first-class cricketer—knew his son had it in him.
“Willy called me one day and said ‘You know I have played a lot of cricket and I know my son can play well too. Could you have a look at him?’ I was at North West then. So, I spoke to the CEO and got Chris over. Things started to roll from there. Chris took his time though. He spent two years at North West before finally getting to play for Lions,” said Parsons, an acclaimed domestic coach who has trained the likes of Kagiso Rabada.
Having made his first-class debut at 22, the 6ft4 fast bowling all-rounder had to wait two more years for his T20 debut. Today, Morris is possibly South Africa’s biggest IPL export since the 2016 season, first going to the Delhi franchise for over a million dollars, retained for ₹7.1 crore in 2018 before being bought by RCB for ₹10 crore in 2020. Now roped in by Rajasthan Royals for ₹16.25 ($2.2 million), Morris is expected to bring to the table a set of skills very few cricketers have. He can consistently bowl 140kph plus, be very tidy in the Powerplay overs, nail the yorkers at the death and clear the boundaries easily.
“Chris is that rare cricketer who can produce those magic deliveries, bowl really quick when you want and score the runs needed at pressure moments. In shorter formats, that is a brilliant quality to have,” said Gordons.
Starting with Chennai Super Kings in 2013, Morris had previously played for the Royals in 2015, finishing the team’s joint-highest wicket-taker with 13 scalps. But he has improved in leaps and bounds since then. In the nine matches he played for RCB during the 2020 season, he returned an economy of only 6.63, the second best (after new team-mate Jofra Archer’s 6.55) for any pacer to have bowled at least 30 overs