I would be lying if there was no pressure: Chris Morris’ most expensive purchase of IPL

Following the IPL 2021 auction in February, Chris Morris has been mentioned essentially after talking of money. With a price tag of 16.25 crores, it makes him the most expensive IPL player ever. The South African all-rounder has however taken it in his stride.

In his first media interaction as a Rajasthan Royals player for the new season on Tuesday, the question “what will you do with so much money, are you feeling pressured because of your price tag.”

When something like this has happened (fever auctions), a little added pressure is natural. If there is no pressure then I will lie. Luckily, in the past I have come up with a good price tag on my head. At the end of the day, whatever you have to do your price tag.

I wouldn’t say it affected me, but there was an initial pressure. But I think the higher you are in the tournament, the more you interact with your team, the longer it will go.

Morris has landed from South Africa, and is currently in quarantine in Mumbai. He is yet to interact with RR teammates and support staff. Before the franchise could begin to train full tilt, he received a major setback with Jofra Archer, ruled at least until the first half of the IPL after elbow surgery. Morris, who was said by the new RR cricket director Kumar Sangakkara to play a supporting role for Archer, may now face a fast attack.

If I am leading an attack, it will not be a new role, if I am supporting it will not be new. There is little responsibility when it comes to leading the attack. But like I said, it won’t be any different for me. Usually, my task is to take the new ball and then finish with a few overs in the death. And if needed, you can do one over in the middle. Archer is a huge miss. He is a rock star with the ball. Hopefully he will return by the end.

Thick skin and acceptance are the two most important things at the time of death. A calm mind usually comes out on top. As a bowler you have to accept that you can go for runs, that you can get hit for sixes. It is about limiting the damage. The noise will not go away whether there is congestion or not. You have to keep in mind that the next day is a new day.

In Archer’s absence, Morris will team up with leading all-rounder Ben Stokes to lead the charge among RR’s overseas players. We have got different roles. Stokes batting openings. He is one of the best in the world. My role is to finish the game with the bat, which I hope I can do more this year.

“It’s different with the ball, I think he (Stokes) bowled much less in the IPL last year than last year,” he said. But the man has got a touch of magic. So, you know, if we feed each other in our different roles in the team, then we can be quite an interesting pair to come up against.

The 33-year-old Morris has been part of four IPL franchises in seven editions – starting with Chennai Super Kings, he played for RR, Delhi Daredevils (now Capital) and Royal Challengers Bangalore last season. Although he has played only one half-century in two seasons, batting in order, with the best aggregate of 195 in 2016, he has taken more than 10 wickets in all seasons in 2018.

Returning to RR, he will play under a new captain in Sanju Samson. I have batted with him in Rajasthan and Delhi. I don’t see him as a young captain, I see him as a seriously good player who has got a great cricketing mind, Morris said. For a man who can keep wickets and field, he has seen different ways from different angles, back and side.

Samson’s captaincy improved after the release of Steve Smith, later chosen by the Delhi capitals. After a disappointing IPL 2020 when the former champions were in eighth and final place, Samson has the task of ensuring RR’s redemption. He will have a surprise star of the previous version of Rahul Tewatia with his hitting ability and leg spin. Samson hopes Morris will make way.

It’s not hard to see Teotia. I don’t think he was a breakthrough talent from last season. I have known him since we played together for Delhi. It would be good to know what has been different for him over the years, Morris said.

The Proteas all-rounder has not played competitive cricket since the CSA T20 Challenge in February. This creates concern as to whether he will be a match fit for the IPL, which starts on 9 April. Morris has also suffered injuries over the past few seasons.

It has been a bit of a roller-coaster, certainly; I have been disappointed by the injuries. I will try my best to come back.

There hasn’t been much match practice, everything I have is basically a long pre-season. I was running, bowling with a red ball. I am doing everything I can do without actually playing cricket. The injuries came at the wrong time. Last year (playing side strain for RCB), it was a different one. There was no cricket to come in the IPL, so there were soft tissue injuries, a lot of torn muscles. I have done everything to stay cricket fit.

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