20210429 Chris Morris
Chris Morris of Rajasthan Royals (right) and his captain Sanju Samson celebrate the wicket of Rohit Sharma, Mumbai Indians captain, in the India leg of IPL 2021. Image Credit: Sportzpics for IPL

Kolkata: Chris Morris, the South African allrounder whose astronomical price tag of $ 2.25 million was one of the biggest talking points in the first half of IPL 2021, says he is always ready to be a part of the leadership group of Rajasthan Royals as they resume their campaign in the UAE leg on Tuesday.

Royals, who are placed at a competitive fifth position in the IPL table after having won three of their seven matches, were hit the hardest ahead of the second leg as all of their ‘Big Three’ - Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer had to pull out of the second leg due to variety of reasons. The pink shirts, who will flag the Dubai Expo 2020 flag on their shirts as their main sponsors, have signed up a decent line-up of replacements but Morris’ IPL experience as a journeyman makes him a go-to person for young Royals captain Sanju Samson.

‘‘I will definitely be helping Sanju - in fact, I have done it irrespective of others being around. It’s a part of the gig,’’ said the 34-year-old, who along with senior pro Faf du Plessis were ignored for South Africa’s T20 World Cup squad. ‘‘I have been around for a few more hours and years on the field,’’ was how the seam bowler with an excellent economy rate and handy lower order batsman assessed himself.


Speaking in a virtual media interaction alongwith Samson, Morris shrugged off any talk of the impact of missing out on the bigger stars - pinning his hopes on the likes of West Indies opener Evin Lewis and New Zealand wicketkeeper-batsman Glenn Phillips among the new recruits. “The guys who are there are playing leagues and scoring quite a lot of runs and making massive impact around the world,” he said.

What, according to Morris, is the way out to combat the excessively hot and humid conditions of the UAE? ‘‘Spend as much time as you can in the middle,’’ was his no-nonsense reply.

The four and-a-month gap between the first and second legs of the IPL, according to Morris, is sure to affect the “match-readiness” of some players and they might just struggle to shake the rustiness off.

'Trying to lose weight'

“Match readiness is going to be an issue just like last time when IPL was played in Dubai. People will take a couple of games to get rustiness out of their way,” Morris said ahead of their opener against Punjab Kings in Dubai on Tuesday.

“Fortunately, overseas players have been playing some cricket. I have done pre-season at home, trying to lose weight. Match fitness is always the best type of fitness. We have had two warm-up games now and we have spent time on our feet,” Morris said.

Morris also felt that the Royals’ bowling unit has quality to restrict the opposition. “The bowling unit is going to be under pressure as it’s the bowlers who win you matches, we know we have quality to restrict teams and at business end, we will come out all guns blazing,” he added.