Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Former South Africa and Royal Challengers Bangalore coach Ray Jennings believes that the Delhi Daredevils opted to retain Proteas all-rounder Chris Morris due to the fact that he is a “genuine all-rounder with the X-factor”.
Morris was one of three players the Daredevils retained prior to the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction, with the other two being Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer.
While some eyebrows were raised by the Daredevils’ decision to keep hold of Morris for INR 7.1 crores, Jennings admitted that he was not at all surprised.
“The way people identify talent and what that talent can actually do can be two different things,” the 63-year-old was quoted as saying by Sport24. “Morris hits the ball far and bowls as quickly as anyone, but you have to play to make an impact. He can be a key match-winner because he’s a genuine all-rounder with the X-factor.
“If you look at the top five all-rounders with X-factor in South Africa, he’d be in that list. Does he beat AB as a batsman? No. Does he beat (Kagiso) Rabada as a bowler? No. But do either of them beat him in terms of what he offers as an all-rounder? No.”
Jennings even went as far as saying that Morris is among the top three all-rounders in Twenty20 cricket at the moment.
“When you look at the top three T20 all-rounders in the world, Morris would be there,” Jennings said. “He can change a game in an over for you – he can hit 20 runs in an over, take two or three wickets or take a great catch at gully.”
Meanwhile, Jennings also conceded that South Africa are making a mistake by not including Morris in their Test squad.
Morris has featured in four Tests thus far, the last of which came against England in July last year. Since then, Morris had been troubled by a back injury, but has made a full recovery. Despite this, he has failed to represent his country in another Test match.
“I think South African cricket missed a trick there; I’ve been saying for more than two years that he could play as a Test all-rounder,” Jennings said. “Ideally, Morris should be the second guy helping (Quinton) de Kock destroy teams down the order.
“But the thing is that, at the moment, the four fast bowlers playing for the Proteas in Test cricket are the best fast bowlers at the moment. That said, for Morris to find his groove or mould a style, he would need to play more than the four Tests he’s played.”