Morris was meant to make his comeback, after four months out with a stress reaction in his back, at the Bidvest Wanderers in midweek against his former team, the bizhub Highveld Lions, but that game was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to rain, the second successive game the Titans have had washed out.
“I’m definitely very eager, I was quite nervous going to the Wanderers and obviously I’ve got to ease back into it. I was quite lucky that it was just a stress reaction and not a fracture, but it’s been tough sitting on the sidelines. It’s never nice watching when you just want to make amends for things not going so well in England.
“I obviously want to stake a claim with the new national coach, but my body said ‘take a break’. So now I have to prove I’m strong and show why I was in the side in the first place. It was not an easy process to go through because there’s very little you can do with a back injury, you can’t really exercise," said Morris.
“The rest of the guys are also very hungry to get out there again because they’ve been playing very good cricket before the last couple of games were washed out. We haven’t got on the park for a while, but our training is so intense, some of the most intense I’ve ever experienced, and it’s very match-specific."
The Warriors, who the Titans beat in last season’s T20 Challenge final, have gone off the rails a bit this year, and are bottom of the log having won just one of their six games so far. But the Eastern Cape side always seem to give the Titans a hard time.
“They’re a tough side to play against, they’re not easy to beat, especially when they’re nearly down-and-out. It’s never easy against them. It’s probably a game that they have to win, they’ll be treating it like a final and so we expect them to fight really hard against us, they always do. Even though they haven’t been on top of their game, I’m sure it will be close,” said Morris.
While preparations for the Highveld Lions game saw the bowling machines set to deliver countless short balls against the Titans batsmen – Morris chuckled when he thought about the blows he took this week in the nets.
The defending champions will probably have to mentally transport themselves to the subcontinent to prepare for the challenge presented by the spin-heavy Warriors attack. With Port Elizabeth and East London as their home grounds, the visitors are well-accustomed to slow-and-low pitches.
Not doing anything silly and pushing too hard and too early is something the Titans will have to avoid against a side that thrives on attritional cricket.
“We’re on top of the log still, so for us we don’t need to play any frantic cricket, we can just continue playing our brand and at our pace, making the other teams do the running. We’ve got the momentum still, we’re still unbeaten and the guys are all looking sharp,” said head coach Mark Boucher.
Many eyes will be on Morris, who will be hoping to be as sharp as ever as he returns with a new bowling run-up designed to help his consistency and ease the pressure on his back.
“The new run-up has only been used in the nets, but it all feels good. It’s been nice in a way to be able to recharge at home, but I’ve really missed the vibe of playing. I’ve even asked to be used as the water-carrier because after watching two games from the box it was enough. I want to be part of the action because I love playing and being in the changeroom,” the 30-year-old said.
Morris is famous for the enthusiasm he brings to the team, but he is as dangerous a T20 player as they come and he will certainly boost the Titans as they look to notch their fifth win on Friday night.
Multiply Titans squad to face the Warriors (from): Albie Morkel (c), Farhaan Behardien, Junior Dala, Henry Davids, AB de Villiers, Tony de Zorzi, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Chris Morris, Lungi Ngidi, Tabraiz Shamsi, Malusi Siboto, Shaun von Berg, David Wiese.