South African cricketer Chris Morris paid off his parents’ mortgage with his first fee of US$625,000 to play in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2013.
Three years later, he was bought at auction for just over US$1 million at the 2016 IPL auction. In 2020, Morris was bought for US$1.3 million and he treated himself to a new pick-up truck.
This year Morris, an all-rounder who plays Twenty20 cricket in India, South Africa, Australia and England, was bought for an IPL record of US$2.2 million.
So what will the cricketer, who describes himself as an average Joe, do with US$2.2 million?
“Everything I’ve wanted to do and set up my whole life after cricket has pretty much been set up. This is just the cherry on the cake,” Morris told the BBC.
“I’m a big believer in wanting to look after what my family does in the future – if my three-year-old son needs to have a car when he’s 18 or needs to go to university, I don’t have to worry about stuff like that.
“It’s not about spoiling us now, about buying cars, a holiday home. It’s just about making sure everyone is looked after one day.”
Morris watched with Titans teammate Simon Harmer as the fierce bidding war for him at the auction earlier in February. He was in a hotel in Durban, South Africa, the night before a Titans domestic T20 match, with the auction in Chennai, India.
“We basically laughed the whole way through, not believing what had happened,” Morris said.
“The first thing Simon did was grab a few beers so we could celebrate the day before a game, the professionals that we are.”
Morris had a fine match the next day, helping the Titans beat the Knights by six wickets. Morris took 1-10 from 3.2 overs bowling and hit an unbeaten 21 from eight balls.
“Look, I’ll be the first person to say that my breath was taken away,” Morris said during a virtual media interaction. “I didn’t expect to, first of all, be bought for that much, and second of all, for so many teams to want to employ my services. It’s definitely a humbling feeling … and like I said it took my breath away for that to happen and for teams to keep going for me like that blew my mind.
“My phone blew up – my mates from home were saying they’ll never pay for beers or anything again!”
Between the end of IPL 2020, when Morris was injured, and the IPL 2021 auction, he hadn’t played a single competitive game, but the Rajasthan Royals still broke the bank for his big hitting and death bowling.
Those dual skills have made Morris, 33, a T20 globetrotter. He has played in the BBL (Australia), IPL (India) and T20 Blast in England. This is Morris’s eighth IPL season and he will return to the Royals, a franchise he represented in 2015 when they reached the playoffs.
“I never in my wildest dreams thought I’ll be in my ninth IPL or eighth – math has never been my strong suit – but I never thought I’ll be playing this many IPLs,” Morris said. “For me to still be needed for my services and be valued is very cool and humbled. I badly wanted to get back into the IPL. I had unfinished business.”
Morris called the IPL a “life-changing” event, cherishing the experience of playing with and against top international players in the world.
“You want to use the word life-changing, but every single time you come to the IPL, your life changes whether it’s personal or cricket or anything else,” he said. “It’s a life-changing experience to be part of the IPL. It’s been an absolute blast of a journey so far and hopefully there’s a new story to be written over the next nine weeks.”
Morris showed his value for the Rajasthan Royals when he hit two sixes in the final over to bring his side victory over Delhi Capitals on Friday. Morris hit an unbeaten 36 in 18 balls and with his side needing 12 runs in six balls, dispatched the first two balls bowled over the boundary fence. The Royals play the Chennai Super Kings tonight at 7:30pm Mumbai time.
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