Three years later the Royals made headlines again, when they spent as much as Rs 16.25 Crore to buy South African all-rounder Chris Morris. This was the most expensive buy of not just the 2021 edition of the auction, but also the most expensive of all time. Morris’s price tag is Rs 25 lakh more than what the Delhi Capitals (then Delhi Daredevils) spent to buy Yuvraj Singh in the 2015 edition of the auction (Rs 16 Crore).
Incredibly, Morris had entered the 2021 Player Auction pool at a base price of Rs 75 lakh. He was eventually sold for more than 21 times his base price (Rs 16.25 Cr) as he rejoined the Royals, a team he has played for in the past.
This will be Morris’ eighth IPL season. Since his first season in 2013, the South African has played for Chennai Super Kings, Rajasthan Royals, Delhi Capitals, and Royals Challengers Bangalore. He didn’t play in the 2014 edition of the tournament.
He has played 70 IPL matches so far, scoring 551 runs at an average of 23.95, including two half-centuries. He also has 80 wickets in his kitty, including three four-wicket hauls.
From Chris Morris to K Gowtham, here are the Top 5 Buys from the @Vivo_India #IPLAuction so far. 👇 https://t.co/cLZn4tAjLu
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) 1613654669000
In IPL 2020, the fast bowling all-rounder played 9 matches for RCB, taking 11 wickets and scoring 34 runs. He has taken 13 wickets in three different seasons of the IPL (2015, 2016 & 2019).
Apart from Morris, the Royals also bought all-rounder Shivam Dube for Rs 4.4 crore in the last auction.
Rajasthan Royals COO Jake Lush McCrum spoke with Timesofindia.com in an exclusive interview and spoke about the record-breaking signing of Morris, handing over the team captaincy baton to wicket-keeper batsman Sanju Samson, the team’s title chances this year, and much more…
How would you sum up the IPL Auction 2021? Do you think everything went as per your plans in the auction?
We are happy with how the auction went. We had our targets and were happy to get all the players we’d hoped for. It’s a good mix of experienced international players with some quality Indian talent.
South Africa all-rounder Chris Morris has been signed for a record Rs 16.25 Crore. What was the strategy?
Chris Morris is someone we have always had on our radar and we knew there would be heavy competition from the other teams for him. Thankfully Punjab Kings stopped bidding when they did, otherwise we would have lost him.
Most expensive video you’ll see on the internet today..😉 #HallaBol | #RoyalsFamily | #IPLAuction |… https://t.co/zky5PXWJJe
— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) 1613660809000
What according to you will Chris Morris bring to the table for the Royals?
Chris brings in a very specific set of skills that we were looking for. He is extremely experienced and will add to our bowling depth, especially at the death alongside the likes of Jofra Archer and Kartik Tyagi. Down the order with the bat, he can win you matches too, with his powerful hitting.
‘All-rounders win you matches’. Was this the Royals’ strategy, to go for as many all-rounders as possible? You also bought Shivam Dubey…
Both Shivam and Chris are very good all-around cricketers and contribute to the team in different ways. With Shivam, we were looking for someone to bat for us in the middle order, and the fact (that) he’s left-handed was really important so we can have the right combinations going through the lineup. With Chris, he also fills a specific role. The flexibility they give us is immense.
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— Rajasthan Royals (@rajasthanroyals) 1613672989000
Kumar Sangakkara said – ‘Morris’s inclusion will help the team space out Jofra Archer’s overs, and also add greater potency in the death bowling department.’ Your take on that…
Morris does indeed add greater potency to our death bowling which was a weakness last year. He had some fantastic numbers at the death in the last IPL and has bags of IPL experience, something that will be great for us as a squad. Morris also happens to be an ex-Royal and we’re delighted to have someone like him with us.
Morris could play only 9 matches for the RCB in the 2020 season due to fitness problems. He was released by RCB before this year’s auction. How will you manage his workload and responsibilities and fitness as well this season?
The fitness of all our players is absolutely crucial and we will have an individual plan for Chris to enable him to play as many matches as possible. He is fully fit and firing in the domestic SA competition at the moment which is great to see.
Youngsters like Riyan Parag and Kartik Tyagi have been impressive. Yashasvi is yet to go big. Your take on these young guns…
We’ve got some immensely talented youngsters within our squad. Riyan, Kartik, Yashasvi, Anuj Rawat, Lomror, and Akash Singh are all highly talented and have grown in the past year or two with the Royals. They are going to have a big role to play for us in the coming season and we expect them to learn and further develop alongside some experienced players in the coming season.
Yashasvi Jaiswal (IPL Photo)
RR will be led by Sanju Samson this time. RR had other options too – David Miller, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler. What was the reason the team decided to make Sanju the captain?
For all of us, it was a unanimous decision on Sanju. He has the natural leadership qualities required, understands the Royals way, and is someone we want to build our team around.
Sanju Samson. (IPL Photo)
IPL 2020 was played in the UAE. How challenging was it to organise everything during the COVID-19?
It was an extremely challenging process to move to the UAE, but we were pleased with how well it was executed. The BCCI provided robust SOPs and all the other franchises tackled the challenge together, making it possible to hold an IPL in the middle of a pandemic, enabling the entertainment of billions of people around the world.
RR won the IPL title in the inaugural edition in 2008 and have been waiting to add to that tally for 12 years since. Your take on their title chances this season…
I think we’ve got a quality squad that can beat any team in the league, but the beauty of the IPL is just how competitive a competition it is. Any team can win it which is why it’s the best tournament in the world.