FILE - Chris Morris in action for the Proteas. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
FILE - Chris Morris in action for the Proteas. Photo: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

EXCLUSIVE: Chris Morris harbours no hard feelings about missing T20 World Cup

By Stuart Hess Time of article published Sep 9, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG – Chris Morris says he harbours no hard feelings about his omission from the Proteas squad for the T20 World Cup, having long ago made peace with his absence from the international stage.

Morris was among the group of ‘free agents,’ the South African selectors chose to overlook for the World Cup, with Cricket SA’s Director of Cricket Graeme Smith stating, that in Morris’s case, he did not avail himself for selection.

“It’s a case of a massive breakdown in communication,” Morris said on Thursday about his continued absence from the national side. “Once I said no to the 3TC game, all communications broke down after that.”

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The 3TC match was played in July last year. Morris had done TV commentary for the event, alongside Smith, but there was no talks between the two at that time about Morris’ international future.

The 34 year old last played for the Proteas at the 2019 Cricket World Cup and his last appearance in a T20 International was in March 2019 against Sri Lanka. He let CSA know that he was no longer available for selection, shortly after returning to the country when the IPL was abandoned earlier this year. He will be available for the Titans across all formats in the 2021/22 season.

Morris is in the UAE, preparing for the resumption of the IPL with his team, the Rajasthan Royals. “There are no hard feelings. I was pissed off for a few months, but I got over it. Now I’m just looking forward to watching my mates perform well in the World Cup, I genuinely believe South Africa has a good chance of winning it,” he said.

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Morris, Faf du Plessis and Imran Tahir are the most high profile of South Africa’s ‘free agents’ – players not contracted to CSA, who are free to sign deals to play in various T20 Leagues around the world.

While there was no communication with Morris, Smith and selection convenor Victor Mpitsang said there had been plenty of talks with Du Plessis, who had said on a number of occasions that despite retiring from Test cricket earlier this year, and giving up the Proteas captaincy, he was keen to be part of the national team’s plans for this year’s T20 World Cup.

“I have spoken to some of the free agents,” said Mpitsang. “There has been a lot of communication between Faf, the coach and the DoC, but in general, there was one or two players that didn’t avail themselves.”

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Morris confirmed Thursday that since Mpitsang was employed as CSA’s selection convenor in October last year, the two had not spoken at all.

“At the end of the day, there has been consideration, we also had to make a decision based on what we felt was the best chance going into the World Cup and the guys that have played for this Proteas team,” said Mpitsang.

Smith said that CSA hadn’t been able to reach an agreement with Du Plessis about his availability for the Proteas. “When you’re working with free agents you have to come together, find that balance that works for both the team, the squad and the free agent.

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“They are obviously attracted to a lot of the leagues and the finances of those leagues. Then the (national) squad has its own requirements and how they build towards a World Cup. You try to find that balance all the time and unfortunately – with Faf in particular – we struggled to find that balance that worked for both parties.”

Du Plessis is currently playing for the St Lucia Kings in the Caribbean Premier League, making an unbeaten 120 for them in his last appearance.

@shockerhess

IOL Sport

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