Chris Morris has a very specific role to play in supporting Archer: Sangakkara

Having signed Morris for a whopping Rs 16.25 crore, Rajasthan Royals’ director of cricket, Kumar Sangakkara, explained the rationale behind the franchise's record acquisition.

Rajasthan Royals and Punjab Kings' bidding war for South African all-rounder Chris Morris at the IPL 2021 auction on Thursday piqued interest. Having signed Morris for a whopping Rs 16.25 crore, Rajasthan Royals’ director of cricket, Kumar Sangakkara, explained the rationale behind the franchise's record acquisition.

“Morris has a very specific role for us to play in supporting Archer. He gives a lot of flexibility in the way we use Archer. Morris’ numbers - when he has been fit and strong - have been some of the best in the IPL. Especially in death overs, his numbers have been probably at No.1, and in terms of game impact, he is very much in that top bracket,” Sangakkara said in a media interaction on Friday.

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“His ability in that sense is crucial for us, and it frees us to kind of think of how to use Archer in other ways. We have AJ (Andrew) Tye, Mustafizur (Rahman) and young Indian quicks as well to support that. It gives us a few more combinations that we can play,” said Sangakkara, former Sri Lanka captain.

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However, he admitted that the Royals did stretch their purse a bit to get Morris - a former Royal - on board. “Of course, we would have liked to get him for less, but Mumbai (Indians) and (Punjab) Kings were as interested in him as we were and then we had to push through that upper limit.”

Over the last few seasons, bowling in the middle and death overs has been a concern for the franchise. And with Morris and Mustafizur around, the team management is hopeful that the pressure will be slightly less on its top recruit Archer.

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“It could be that Archer could bowl at the start and the middle and not worry about the death overs. At death, sometimes even the best bowlers in the world get hit and they have to face some damage. The real crucial part is to set that game in the start, and the middle overs and have two capable finishers in the back end. So, that’s where Morris’ role comes in as well,” Sangakkara said.

“The Indian bowlers will be extremely vital too. They can do the support job at the start and the death in tandem with an Archer or a Morris. But Archer will be leading this attack - he has been the most valuable player last season. He is definitely the fast bowler we are looking at to deliver those attacking passages of play,” Sangakkara said.

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And his power-hitting makes Morris an all-round threat. “His batting is a bonus, but with the batting that we do have - with (Shivam) Dube coming in, (Rahul) Tewatia did a good job for RR last season and seems to be developing well - the first nod was to the bowling aspect of Morris. If he can add runs with the bat - which he can do - that would be a bonus,” Sangakkara explained.

With the fast bowling unit looking in good shape, the Royals hope to turn things around this time.

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