Thu. Sep 24th, 2020

Proteas: Gibson pulls the worms out of Morris’ head

Proteas Morris GibsonProteas allrounder Chris Morris has credited coach Ottis Gibson with helping him improve his bowling.

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There are few analysts who would ever deign to question the attitude and application of Proteas allrounder Chris Morris but his ‘cricketing brain’ has abandoned him at critical points.

Morris was initially left out of the World Cup squad having not played an ODI for a year while he was a mainstay of the Twenty20 team. The prevailing impression of him was that his bowling lacked the consistency to give the Proteas a full ten overs. In the 2019 World Cup, though, Morris has been among the better bowlers claiming six wickets across three games including 3/13 against Afghanistan.

The allrounder himself credits a clarity of vision imparted to him by coach Ottis Gibson with helping him improve on his bowling. Morris is capable of topping 140 kmph with his effort ball but has too often lost his rhythm striving for pace. Morris says that Gibson, who was England’s bowling coach before he took the Proteas top job, has made things really simple for him.

“There are a lot less worms in my head on the cricket field these days. The job I was given by Ottis was quite a clear-cut one. If I stick to that, it’s a job I think I can do,” said Morris.

The work done hasn’t been all mental though, with Gibson helping Morris tweak his run-up to ensure a smoother arrival at the crease.

“I have worked quite nicely with Ottis in the last two weeks,” Morris said.

We have found something in the run-up that we’ve changed. That’s given me a lot more rhythm and more balance at the crease. It’s coming on nicely for now.

“I try not to bowl as fast as I can because that’s when I tend to break. It’s just about finding rhythm, hitting the wicket and not trying to do too many things.”

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Chris Morris of South Africa collides with the stumps whilst taking the catch of MS Dhoni of India during the Group Stage match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 between South Africa and India at The Hampshire Bowl on June 05, 2019 in Southampton, England. Photo: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

The Proteas might be grateful for the initial rain break that interrupted play after Afghanistan scored 33 runs in the first 5.5 overs. Morris revealed that Gibson gave the bowling attack the hairdryer treatment after that loose opening. Afghanistan would be knocked over for just 125.

“At the first rain break, the bowlers got a bit of a slap on the wrist. We were told we need to be more consistent in what we are doing and that we don’t need to try too much,” added Morris.

“After that rain break, we came on and we were a lot more consistent, a lot more at the batters and everything in the field just clicked for us. We needed a little bit of a pep talk from the coach and that was quite good.”

The Proteas face New Zealand at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

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