IPL 2013 April 10, 2013

Settling in with Chennai's Super Kings

Chris Morris gets his first taste of flying business-class, what it means to be a high-profile cricketer in India, and the IPL

After being part of the team that won the South African domestic 20-over tournament, Lions, things have gone really quickly for me and one of my opponents on the day of that final, Albie Morkel. We left Johannesburg on Monday afternoon, and flew via Addis Ababa and Delhi to Chandigarh, to meet up with Chennai Super Kings.

It was an unusual route but it ended up being the best way for us to travel. It was my first time flying business class and the best thing about it was being able to lie flat on a plane. Our first flight was five-and-a-half hours and we got to Addis in time for the Manchester derby. I'm a United supporter and when we had to board again the score was still 1-all, so I was in a pretty good mood - until I got to India and heard we had lost.

After another five-and-a-half hour flight, I was thankful the trip from Delhi to Chandigarh involved more time taxiing than in the air, and it was good to finally get there. One thing I realised on the way was how popular Albie is in India. He had a bottle of Jack Daniels in his bag, to take for one of the guys on our support staff, and there was a bit of a fuss of whether he was allowed to bring it on the flight. When the flight attendant saw it was Albie, he let it through.

Some of you might be wondering about Albie's ankle, after he took a tumble in the final. You will be happy to know that he is fine.

We had our first trip to the ground on Tuesday and it was good to see the team and be among some schoolboy heroes. Everybody seemed very happy, and even though they are all superstars to me, they don't act like it. Let me tell you, we all get treated like superstars though; you don't even have to carry have your own bag.

We had a training session at 3pm and it was quite nice for me to see that a lot of the regimes are exactly what we do at Lions, especially the warm-up drills. It also had the same laid-back, relaxed feel that we have at the Wanderers, so the vibe was really good.

I still can't believe I am in this environment and am going to rub shoulders with so many international players. Yesterday, I walked into the change room and there was MS Dhoni and Michael Hussey, getting a rub down. Hussey has always been one of my favourite batsmen to watch, because he hits the ball so cleanly.

Today I had lunch with Andy Bichel - my first proper Indian lunch - and Suresh Raina was also there. We spoke like we had known each other for ages. I stuck to butter chicken because it's something I am familiar with, but I am definitely going to get more adventurous with everything. I can't wait to experience the culture of this country and, especially, the crowds. To see Eden Gardens packed is one of the things I am most looking forward to.

We only play Kolkata Knight Riders next Saturday, so there's a bit of a wait for that, but the big news is that I might play against Kings XI Punjab. It hasn't been very long since I arrived, but I got in a good sleep last night - I was lights out by about 9pm and only woke up at 11am. And I may even take an afternoon nap after my stretching session.

I'm obviously a little bit nervous and before I left home I was feeling a little bit of pressure, but being here with the team has really had a calming effect. I know that being an international player comes with some expectation but I am going to take it on the chin and enjoy the experience.

Today, it's going to be awesome to play against Adam Gilchrist, and hopefully we can have a beer afterwards. And, later in the tournament, it will be great to meet Chris Gayle and Brett Lee. I'm looking forward to every minute of it.

South Africa and Lions fast bowler Chris Morris plays for Chennai Super Kings in the IPL

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • catsalive on April 11, 2013, 21:12 GMT

    Well written and more importantly an impressive first outing.

  • dummy4fb on April 11, 2013, 11:22 GMT

    A wonderful article by Chris,the way it was detailed had a feeling as if travelling with him.Welcome to India and you have been duly rewarded by the Kings with Two Debut Wickets.Congrats.

  • dummy4fb on April 11, 2013, 4:34 GMT

    nice article Chris... its really nice to get a peak into the CSK dressing room!!! as a CSK fan, i would really love more of this! and all the best, well played last night!

  • dummy4fb on April 11, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    Welcome to India, Chris! Hope you have a good time here and carry some sweet memories back home. Being a cricket fan, one thing I can guarantee you is the hospitality and love from the Indian fans wherever you would go. Looking forward to your memories intermittently during IPL.

  • dummy4fb on April 10, 2013, 22:24 GMT

    good luck my friend...u r going to face the HEAT OF IPL...this is the plateform which can make u a superstar like ur mate Albie...go ahead lad...rock the IPL..all d very best...

  • mohamedtoufiq on April 10, 2013, 22:03 GMT

    Hey man, my best wishes for you to play your natural game. You've got a matchless coach and a success hungry team in CSK. I could never ever forget Mathew Hayden, Albie Morkel, Michael Hussey, Muralidharan, Dwayne Bravo, and hope you too will make it to this list.

  • Dev_Anand on April 10, 2013, 21:38 GMT

    Welcome to India Chris. Best wishes for a successful tourney.

  • Batmanindallas on April 10, 2013, 21:35 GMT

    well written- it had a feel as if written by a fan and not a cricketer...best of luck