Chris Morris’ father Willy reveals to mid-day how his family views SA all-rounder’s IPL price tag of R7 crore which made him the second most expensive overseas player in Saturday’s auction
On Saturday morning, Willy Morris took a call from his son Chris, the South African all-rounder, who was calling from Port Elizabeth. It was not about the one-day international the Proteas were about to play against the touring Englishmen. Chris instead wanted to know whether his father was following the Indian Premier League auction.
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Chris Morris. Pic/AFP
Willy couldn’t say yes because he believed the auction was to be held on Sunday. If that miscalculation of date was a surprise, there was another when Willy was told that Chris had been bought by Delhi Daredevils for Rs. 7 crore — Rs 2.5 crore lesser than topper Shane Watson — but on par with Yuvraj Singh to emerge the second most expensive among overseas players. “He was first bought by Chennai Super Kings for a big amount ($625,000 in 2013 – around R4.2 crore). That was also a shock and then, Rajasthan Royals. It (the latest price) was a nice shock if you want to put it that way,” Willy told mid-day from Centurion yesterday.
As for Chris, he appeared over the moon to start bag Rs. 7 crore after starting off with a base price of Rs. 50 lakh. “I am very, very excited to be going to Delhi. I like Delhi as a city and I am happy to be going there with some of my South African teammates,” he said. Quinton de Kock, Imran Tahir, JP Duminy, Albie Morkel are the other South Africans in the Daredevils ranks.
Being a millionaire has not changed Chris and his family, according to Willy. “I wouldn’t say life has changed much. We are still the same people, the same family. I have always tried to instill in Christopher the fact that he must keep his feet on the ground and just be humble because it’s a blessing to be bought and be paid so much money.
“I think if you get to know Christopher, you will realise he is just a nice guy although there have been changes, he is still the same young man he always was,” said the 60-year-old former Northern Transvaal first-class cricketer, who has lived in the house at Centurion since 1984. His left-arm spin fetched him 208 wickets in 74 first-class games.
Willy inspired Chris to take up cricket. However tired Willy was when he returned from work, he would make it a point to reach out for the bat and ball. “Christopher always wanted to bat and bowl. I noticed that he had a lot of ball sense. He could catch and throw a ball and had very good hand-eye co-ordination. I used to let him do anything that had something to do with cricket. Plus, he used to come and watch me play. Yes, most definitely, it has all paid off.”
Amidst the glitz and glamour of Twenty20 cricket, Willy felt his son doesn’t need any reminders about Test cricket being paramount. “Chris doesn’t need to be told about Test cricket being ultimate. That’s why it is called Test cricket, but obviously, the shorter game is really popular and there is a place in the market for it,” he said. Chris played the second of his two Tests against England last month.
His son’s hefty earnings haven’t stopped Willy from continuing his job as a property manager which involves looking after shopping centres and commercial buildings. “I have been in the property industry all my life. I am nearly 61 now and I am still working,” he said.