Chris Morris’ absence from South Africa’s original World Cup squad passed with nary a murmur from cricket’s chattering classes.
He has, for reasons of wavering consistency exacerbated by a string of injuries, not been involved in South Africa’s last 21 one-day internationals — although he has played nine T20s at that level since then.
But, less than three weeks after the squad was announced, Morris came back in from the ODI cold when Anrich Nortje fractured his thumb in the nets in Port Elizabeth.
Nortje’s fate would have disappointed many because he was the closest the selectors came to a surprise pick.
But his replacement, Morris, when he’s in form, comes with built-in dependability. He’s proved as much for Delhi Capitals in this year’s Indian Premier League (IPL), where he has counted KL Rahul, David Miller, Ben Stokes, André Russell and Parthiv Patel among the batsmen he has dismissed.
Morris was sold for US$625 000 in 2013 and US$1-million a year after that, and for him, the IPL has been the shop window that all players hope it will be.
He brings experience and pace to South Africa’s World Cup attack, and more than a little batting ability down the order.
Tall and rangy and blessed with an irrepressible sense of humour, Morris is the kind of player who lifts every team he plays for, both on the field and in the dressing room.
Andile Phehlukwayo will start the tournament as South Africa’s first-choice allrounder, but Morris won’t be far behind in the pecking order and he’s certainly ahead of Dwaine Pretorius.
And the fact that Morris has more pace than Phehlukwayo or Pretorius means he can be picked purely as a fast bowler with his batting a bonus — which has earned him half-centuries in all formats at international level.