Scripture tells us that only in his home town is a prophet without honour, and it seems that the phrase might also ring true for all-rounders like Chris Morris.
Photo Copyright – Steve Haag Sports
Morris once again defied expectations to command a massive fee at the IPL auction, but while it remains strange that the national team setup are reluctant to call on the seam-bowling jack of all trades, his international exile may have factored into that choice.
It is beyond doubt that Morris has the ability to produce four gun overs in T20 matches with great regularity but there is something seemingly intangible that makes franchise teams seek out his skills while the Proteas ignore them.
The Proteas of course have three younger seam-bowling allrounders in Dwaine Pretorius, Andile Phehlukwayo and Wiaan Mulder that they are trying to develop. Pretorius and Phehlukwayo put their names down for the same auction and went unsold without so much the batting of an eyelid.
It didn’t help that Phehlukwayo had sent down one of the worst overs in Proteas T20I history in the deciding match of the series against Pakistan, albeit with a wet ball. Pretorius was coming off the back of record figures and is currently the man who performs the role that would be filled by Morris.
The Proteas clearly have the future in mind and haven’t picked Morris since the 2019 World Cup. Morris himself has not retired and has given no indication that he has made himself unavailable but it seems he just does not fit into the setup.
As a bowler, Morris seems to get better with age having largely addressed a tendency to bowl too short, he makes excellent use of variations in pace, with his quicker balls regularly clocking more than 140 kmph, while his stock deliveries hover around 130.
Morris is also one of the finest exponents of the lower-order cameo in the modern game, his batting numbers are skewed by circumstance but no attack wants to see him coming out to bat when the slog is on.
He might be an unfashionable player in South Africa, but it is clear that several IPL franchises see the value in him with the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Mumbai Indians and Punjab Kings all trying to land him before the Rajasthan Royals made him their own with their record bid.
Morris might have played his last international, but he likely has a good few years of making serious bank on the franchise circuit ahead of him, and who would begrudge him that.