Chris Morris, the Rajasthan Royals fast bowler, has said Shane Watson had handed the team’s captaincy to Steven Smith to concentrate more on his batting and bowling. It had come as a surprise when Smith walked out for the toss when Royals played Chennai Super Kings in Chennai.
“The decision was taken a couple of days ago. It is a tough job to captain a T20 team, especially when you are bowling first and your mind is all over the game,” Morris told iplt20.com after Royals lost by 12 runs in Chennai. “And then you come off and strap your batting pads on in 10 minutes. It becomes a bit of a roller-coaster game.
“I doff my hat off to Watson for giving up the captaincy and taking more responsibility for his batting. It was a responsible thing to do. We all appreciated it as team men and moved on from there.”
Watson scored 205 runs in six innings at an average of 34.16 as captain, and had taken four wickets with an economy of 9.47 overall.
Smith had led Royals for four games at the start of the season because Watson was injured, and they won all of those matches. After Watson’s return, however, Royals won only two matches, losing four while two games were washed out. The slump in form left them needing to win their last league game in Kolkata to have a chance of making the playoffs.
“I guess the oppositions got their teams right in terms of selection. I really don’t know what has happened. There were a couple of games that went to the last ball,” Morris said when asked about Royals’ string of losses. “Cricket is a game of margins and we needed to get the last ball to go our way but it didn’t on a couple of occasions. I will not point fingers at any particular department. The entire team wins or loses. There have been some mistakes that we have made and spoken about. At the end of the day it is the small margins in cricket that will cost you.”
Royals lost the match against Super Kings despite Morris producing his best IPL figures – 3 for 19. “Pretty happy with my bowling but disappointed with the loss. The wicket was a bit slow, so the batsmen expected a lot of slower balls and pitched-up deliveries. So, I thought I’ll use the bouncer as a surprise ball,” Morris said. “The yorker is something I work really hard on and train a lot for in the nets. If you get it right no one can really hit it out of the park unless you are Brendon McCullum and go on one knee. It is also a confidence thing. On some days it lands well for you and today was just one of those days for me.”