Chris Morris waves to the spectators and flashes a smile as he makes his way back after a stint in front of the television camera on Sunday afternoon at the JSCA Stadium in Ranchi. He may have retired, but fans remember those deadly yorkers and big hits at the IPL.
“It is always good to be in India and it’s a place close to my heart,” says the former South Africa all-rounder in an exclusive interview with The Hindu. “I have spent so much time in India and every time you get that cricket vibe.”
He says it feels different as a commentator. “It is quite nice arriving in India and not worrying about having to bowl,” he smiles. “I have so many nice memories about playing in the IPL.”
He remains the costliest player in IPL history. Rajasthan Royals bought him for ₹16.25 crore in the 2021 season. He also played for Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore in his long stint at the IPL, which began in 2013.
Though his primary task was to bowl, he has to his credit some stunning knocks too, like the 32-ball unbeaten 82 for Daredevils against Gujarat Lions in 2016.
“It is one of my favourite memories (as we were 58 for four when I came in, chasing 173),” he says. “But it would have been better if we hadn’t lost by one run.”
He believes the IPL is more about the quality of cricket. “People talk about its financial rewards but that is a completely separate story,” he says. “Show me one cricketer who doesn’t want to play in the IPL and I will say he is a liar.”
Looking ahead to the T20 World Cup in Australia, he feels there are a few teams who look really good. “New Zealand are such good World Cup performers, India have always been there and South Africa could also do really well,” he says.
“New Zealand, South Africa, India and Australia are my top four. You can’t count England out; they are playing unbelievably well. And Afghanistan or Bangladesh could surprise you.”
Best in the world
He thinks India will miss Jasprit Bumrah in Australia. “He is a massive loss,” says Morris. “He is ‘Boom Boom’ for a reason. He is the best in the world in white-ball cricket in my opinion. But other bowlers are putting their hands up. There is one thing that India never struggles with and that is depth.”