Columnists 2.8.2017 11:29 am

Proteas need to dump the Chris Morris idea in Tests

Chris Morris doesn't look like a viable Test player. Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP.

Chris Morris doesn't look like a viable Test player. Photo: Glyn Kirk/AFP.

The lanky seamer is a decent one-day player but his T20 success has fooled the Proteas into thinking he’s a viable option in Test cricket.

The Proteas might be trying to be patient with Chris Morris but they actually have a problem: he doesn’t look like a viable Test player.

Yes, perhaps Russell Domingo and his troops have limited options in the current series with England, rendering him a decent pick.

However, Morris should only be considered a stop-gap player.

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When the Proteas begin their new domestic season against Bangladesh in September, they should try a different strategy.

Morris is a perfect example of how T20 cricket is distorting how capable a player is of being successful at Test level.

Of course there are notable exceptions such as Australia’s devastating opener David Warner, whose adapted superbly.

Not Morris though.

He burst onto the franchise scene in 2012 when he was the leading wicket-taker in the domestic T20 competition and has steadily built on  that reputation.

In fact, he is considered one of the better exponents in the shortest form of the game.

But here’s the caveat.

Being successful at T20 level doesn’t mean a bowler is disciplined enough for Test cricket.

Morris has taken 166 wickets in 135 T20s and 20 in 14 T20 internationals.

His strike rate of 17 isn’t too shabby.

He’s also been saved from being labelled a one-day specialist by 166 first-class wickets at an average of 25.

That said, the domestic four-day competition nowadays isn’t the greatest gauge of international potential.

After all, wholehearted but limited bowlers like Shadley van Schalkwyk, Basheer Walters, Malusi Siboto and Rob Frylinck finished among the top scalpers last season.

T20 also distorts perception in terms of economy rate.

Because the format has become so lopsided in favour of the batsmen, we celebrate bowlers who conceded less than eight an over.

Morris’ economy is just slightly less than that, which still fundamentally means he’s an expensive bowler.

And it shows.

His Test economy is 4.42, which is scarily expensive and in ODIs it’s 5.55.

More importantly, Morris is a highly inconsistent player, a trait even the national coaching staff admit to.

In 28 bowling innings in ODIs, he has only conceded less than five an over in four consecutive matches once.

To compound matters, Morris has only had an economy less than five in 12 of his 29 ODIs.

His highs are followed too easily by spectacular lows.

From 4/31 against Sri Lanka to 4/62 in 7 overs against New Zealand.

Remember also, Morris isn’t a young gun anymore.

He’s turned 30 this year and isn’t some rookie who still has time to curb his inconsistent nature.

And even if his batting is eminently useful, one has to remember he’s a bowling all-rounder first and foremost.

It’s time to go a different route.

Heinz Schenk: Online Sports Editor.

Heinz Schenk: Online Sports Editor.

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