CAPE TOWN – Chris Morris may have carved himself a lucrative career playing franchise cricket around the world, but there is still plenty to prove on the international circuit.
Already the beneficiary of $625 000 and $1 million pay-cheques in the Indian Premier League from the Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Super Kings respectively, Morris scooped a further R1 million from the Nelson Mandela Bay Giants in the Msanzi T20 League player draft on Wednesday in Johannesburg.
But for all those riches, Morris still holds the Proteas dear and desperately wants to do well for the national team. Unfortunately due to a string of injuries and inconsistent performances, his international career has spanned only 34 One-Day Internationals, 17 T20Is and four Test matches since his ODI debut five years ago.
There is a World Cup though in less than a year’s time and Morris would undoubtedly want to be a part of the Proteas 15-man squad next July. His first step to achieving that goal was realised on Wednesday when he was named in the touring squad to Australia for the three-match ODI and sole T20 series’ after recovering from a long-term back injury.
“Chris confirmed his fitness with his excellent form for the Titans in the first two rounds of the 4-Day Domestic Series,” convener Linda Zondi said. “He is the leading wicket-taker in this competition to date and also adds value as a batting option in the lower-order.
There are also recalls for Morris’s Titans teammate Farhaan Behardien and Highveld Lions all-rounder Dwaine Pretorius. Behardien owes his call-up to the injuries suffered by stalwarts Hashim Amla and JP Duminy, while Pretorius benefits from his young Lions teammate Wiaan Mulder’s current injury woes.
“We have lost a lot of experience in our specialist batting order through the injuries to Hashim Amla and JP Duminy, and Farhaan gives us another experienced option in the top order,” he said.
“With Wiaan Mulder also ruled out at the moment through injury we need to look at our resources as far as batting all-rounder options are concerned and Dwaine, in particular, fits into this category.”
A few players that were trialed in the Zimbabwe series such as Dean Elgar, Khaya Zondo and Christiaan Jonker failed to make the cut, with the selectors providing Aiden Markram, Reeza Hendricks and Heinrich Klaasen with further opportunities.
“We feel that we got quite a lot out of the Zimbabwe series, notably the form of Imran Tahir and the return of Dale Steyn to his very best,” Zondi said. “Heinrich Klaasen took his chances well both with bat and behind the stumps and the same applies to a lesser extent to Reeza Hendricks in a series in which batting was not easy.”
The Proteas squad to Australia is:
Faf du Plessis (capt), Farhaan Behardien, Quinton de Kock (wk), Reeza Hendricks, Imran Tahir, Heinrich Klaasen, Aiden Markram, David Miller, Chris Morris, Lungisani Ngidi, Andile Phehlukwayo, Dwaine Pretorius, Kagiso Rabada, Tabraiz Shamsi, Dale Steyn.@ZaahierAdams