MUMBAI: Chris Morris hit a jackpot on Thursday in the IPL auctions at Hotel ITC Grand Chola in Chennai with Rajasthan Royals engaged in aggressive bidding with Royal Challengers, Bangalore, and Mumbai Indians.
Well into his 34th year, Morris was successfully bid by the Jaipur- side for Rs.16.25 crore (a little over US $ 2.2 million) which is the highest in the IPL history. Though known to clout sixes, he has hardly justified his tag as an all-rounder even for South Africa and turned out to be a game changer. The previous highest buy in the league was Yuvraj Singh for Rs. 16 crore by the Delhi franchise in 2015.
Raised in Pretoria, Morris is low down in the South African cricketers considered all-rounders and those who have played a minimum of 20 matches. He has played 23 Twenty20 internationals and scored 133 runs at an average of 14.78, but has better returns in the bowling department with 34 wickets at 20.54 behind, Johan Botha, Imran Tahir and Morne Morkel.
Morris’ IPL journey began in 2013 when he played 16 matches for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). He did not get to bat in 10 matches as a result of which he had a mere total of 14 runs in six matches. But he picked up 15 wickets at 26.73. He did not figure in the 2014 season, but took 13 wickets each in the 2015 and 2016 seasons and 12 wickets in 2017. He played only in four matches in 2018 and took three wickets, but returned for the 2019 and 2020 seasons and took 13 and 11 wickets respectively.
In all he has sent down 245.4 overs, one maiden, conceded 1919 runs and picked 80 wickets at 23.99 with a strike rate of 18.42 and with a career best of four for 23. In the batting department he has been less effective, although has stepped out to bat only on 44 occasions from 70 innings. He has scored 551 runs. Morris has played 34 matches for the Delhi Daredevils and Delhi Capitals, 16 for CSK, 11 for Rajasthan Royals and nine for RCB.
The all-rounder is expected to be a vital cog in the wheel for the Rajasthan side which is looking for a change in fortune. It has made Sanju Samson captain for the Vivo IPL season 14.
Yet to win the IPL silverware, Royal Challengers, Bangalore went all out get some of the best players in business. It sort of stuck its neck out to buy New Zealand fast bowler Kyle Jamieson for Rs. 15 crore and Australian all rounder Glenn Maxwell for Rs.14.25 crore.
It will be a first for Jamieson in the big and glamourous world of Twenty20 inter-club tournament. The 26 year old fast bowler from Auckland, Jamieson has played four Twenty20 internationals for his country and picked up three wickets at 35.33. Clearly former Kiwi coach Mike Hesson, who is the head coach of the RCB side, has played a big role in Jamieson’s selection.
What has weighed in Jamieson’s favour is his performance in the six Test matches he has played; 36 wickets at 13.28 with one ten wicket haul and four five-wicket hauls. He is a speedster true to the word and has the ability to take wickets in a clutch and bring the downfall of rival teams. The IPL will be a big litmus test for him on Indian pitches.
RCB went full throttle to choose Maxwell, whose record in the IPL is nothing to shout about. In eight IPL seasons he has played 82 matches for three franchises including Delhi (14), Mumbai Indians (3) and Mohali (65), scored 1505 runs at 22.13 with six half centuries. He has held 30 catches and picked up a mere 19 wickets at 41.05. RCB shelled out Rs.14.25 crore to Maxwell on board.
Some of the other big buys were Australian fast bowlers Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith by Punjab Kings for Rs. 14 crore and Rs. 8 crore, Indian off spinner all rounder Krishnappa Gowtham and England’s Moeen Ali by Chennai Super Kings for Rs. 9.25 crore and Rs. 7 crore. Punjab Kings also bought Tamil Nadu all rounder Shahrukh Khan for Rs. 5.25 crore.