In their last five matches, Royal Challengers Bangalore‘s bowling in the death overs has got a much-needed boost. Deservingly, South African pace merchant Chris Morris takes a major share of the credit. In five matches he has picked up nine wickets with an enviable economy rate of five.
The 33-year-old all-rounder’s campaign began late due to a muscle pull, but the impact has been immediate. Morris, a Rs 10-crore acquisition by RCB for this edition, during an interaction spoke about the IPL challenges, the team, living in a bio-bubble and young Indian talents.
IPL 2020 POINTS TABLE
On the pressure of bowling at the death
Cricket comes with pressure. Think how much pressure AB and Virat and the whole batting unit are at all the time. It doesn’t matter what role you play in the team, there’s always going to be pressure. I don’t think the death bowling has been a problem, maybe guidance or different thinking was needed. The guys have the skills and talent. We’re improving our skills and execution every single game. That’s what is showing in our game.
On the challenges of playing various roles
I think I’m in a blessed position, to be honest. So, there are high pressure points that you want to be in as a cricketer. That’s where you want to get tested as a cricketer. You get to bowl fast, bowl yorkers and smash sixes (laughs). What more do you want? I have been very fortunate. I haven’t been really smacked (around in IPL) yet, but that’s going to come unfortunately. That’s the nature of the beast — the IPL. I just have to keep my clarity. The moment you lose clarity of what you want to do, that’s when everything gets side-tracked. The bounce-back ability needs to be good. As a new-ball and death bowler, you are going to get hit for six, you will get inside-edges for fours. It is about how you fix the next ball. If the next ball gets hit for a six, then just bowl the next, keep repeating, give your best. You have to continue to get better. Like I said, I’ve been very lucky, I have got wickets, I haven’t been hit for runs. I hope it continues, if it doesn’t it is about how you limit it. It is a tough game, but I enjoy doing it.
On his injury management
The medical staff were incredible. I’ve never had that type of injury before. It was a new thing for me. I got it while I was batting, I just hit a shot and tweaked a stomach muscle. So, I didn’t know how long it was going to take. We worked really hard. It was a tough four-and-a-half week for myself and the medical team. I would wake up every two hours and ice myself throughout the night. It was a hard graft and here we are.
On playing in a bio-bubble
It’s been different, at the beginning I thought I would get bored and lose my mind. But luckily, we’ve got a good bunch of guys. The RCB management has put together an amazing team room. We’ve got a pool to ourselves and a private beach. Last night, we had a barbeque outside. It was awesome with cricket on the big screen. We’ve got a golf simulator. The bio-bubble has been cool and a lot of fun.
Playing in the UAE
It has been magnificent. That’s the only word. People don’t realise the amount of travel in India. It’s not as easy as it sounds or looks. It’s absolutely draining. You finish the game at midnight and get back to the hotel room at half past one. You are so exhausted from the game, yet you have to pack your bags and put it outside. By then, it’s 3am and you for the airport in a couple of hours. You have to also shower and look respectable before the drive to the airport. It’s absolutely draining. It’s been quite refreshing to get to a place, unpack your bags and just relax. It feels almost like playing at home. It’s been really nice and refreshing. I think the boys are enjoying not travelling.
On the young Indian bowlers
I was with (Navdeep) Saini at Delhi (Capitals) where he was one of the net bowlers. I could not believe he wasn’t playing in our team because he was bowling at rocket pace. One of the things that I have picked up from Indian pacers is the amount of hard work they put in. It is very impressive.
On the RCB youngsters who have impressed the most
Dev’s (Devdutt Padikkal) batting at the top with (Aaron) Finch has been incredible. He has an imposing way of batting like Matthew Hayden. Obviously, he isn’t huge like Hayden. But technique-wise they are similar, the way they hit the ball. The way he moves around the field and conducts himself, you know he is the future. Washi (Washington Sundar) is coming into his own now. He is special to watch. Indian cricket is in good hands with these youngsters.
On the influence of Dale Steyn on the team
I’ve played with Dale for quite a few years and we’ve had many conversations around bowling and everything. The team calls him legend, not Dale or Steyn, because that’s what he is. For me, with Dale it is not the stuff that we talk on the field but more about off the field, life in general. For a guy who’s been playing since he was 20 and still does what he does is incredible. What he brings to the team is invaluable.
On Mohammed Siraj‘s bowling against KKR
You don’t often see something like that in any game, especially in a T20. The way Siraj came back, he had quite a tough game the last time he played. For him to come back, for the coaching staff to show the confidence to back him again, it’s testament to the squad. To see him execute what he could do, I like to call him ‘The Rogue’. He’s a rogue bowler and he is never scared of trying anything and he’s a good character to have on the field.
On inching closer to the play-offs
Until we actually walk onto the field for that first playoff game, I don’t think the playoffs are secured. I think our first job is to win the next game…. We’re not going to focus on the next four for now, we’re just going to focus on the next one which is going to be a tough one. I think we’ll just take every game as it comes, every game step by step. We don’t look too far into the future.