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Interview | Absence of fans in stadium for IPL is frustrating, says ace commentator Danny Morrison

Danny Morrison, one of the most popular commentators in the world, speaks to Moneycontrol on IPL, pace bowlers, COVID impact on cricket and more.

March 29, 2021 / 07:37 AM IST
With his unique style and accent, Danny Morrison has carved a special niche in the commentary box.

With his unique style and accent, Danny Morrison has carved a special niche in the commentary box.

Daniel Kyle Morrison, simply known as Danny Morrison, is one of the most popular commentators in the world. 'Danny' with his unique style and accent, carved a special niche in the commentary box and is connected with the game 365 days a year, thanks to various T20 leagues across the world. The 55-year-old spoke to Moneycontrol exclusively on IPL in Patna on the sidelines of the inaugural Bihar Cricket League where he was the mentor of Patna Pilots which lost in the final.

Excerpts from the interview:

What is so special about the Indian Premier League? There is a different kind of buzz if you compare it with other T20 leagues across the world. Do you agree?

It is intriguing because by far away it’s (IPL) the biggest tournament on the planet. And as a commentator and a former player, I love coming over here. The difficulty now in COVID time is that, unfortunately, the crowd is not going to be there. Crowd and energy from the fans is part of the whole show and they really do make it. It’s very frustrating that we won’t have fans in the stadium at least to start with. We had this situation in Dubai last year, and now in India. (What separates IPL is) the quality of cricket, all the big players are(mostly) available, big superstars, foreign players and all the Indian players (play in this tournament). From that perspective, it is immense and a crowd takes it to another level.

This time Indian captain Virat Kohli is going to open in the IPL? How much that is going to change the fortune of Royal Challengers Bangalore?

We (commentators) have been saying it for the last 6 years. Pommie Mbangwa (former Zimbabwe player), my friend and one of my co-commentators, remembers it. We said that in Chinnaswamy Stadium (Bangalore) a long time back and it is great to hear this move when Virat(Kohli) said it in one of his post-match presentations after the T20 series against England. You want your best players to face the most balls. Unless you are a Chris Gayle or David Warner, a specialist opener (can do the job); otherwise someone like Virat needs to open. He can change gears remarkably and it’s a no-brainer (that he has decided to open now).

MS Dhoni remains the most popular player in India and this could possibly be his last IPL.

(Interrupts) Isn’t Sachin the most popular? Laughs..

Will we see a different Dhoni this time around?

We all get old, hair falls out and teeth go missing, but seriously when you don’t have the crowd in Chennai when you need it for energy it will be tough. It (the support of fans) lifts you massively.

As a former fast bowler, how do you see two contrasting approaches by pacers? Someone like Shardul Thakur gives too many runs but takes crucial wickets while someone like Bhuvneshwar Kumar is very economical even if he doesn’t pick too many wickets. Who do you want to be?

Rolled them into one! I want both. Ideally, you want to be a Jofra Archer. (He is) Never going to be hundred percent fit all the time but he has that extra pace, the X factor and the change of pace. (Besides Archer) Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins are also very fine bowlers.

Are you surprised that modern fast bowlers have managed to cope with all kinds of challenges from batsmen?

Seven out of the top 10 bowlers are spinners in the rankings because they can take the pace off the ball. It just shows how important is that factor. Modern fast bowlers must be applauded for the fact that they have so much variety in their armoury these days. They slow down at the point of delivery; go wide on the crease, bowl wide yorkers, slower ones, and bowl slow tennis ball bouncers. Changing gear and stride at the time of delivery is very tough on your body because the modern quick bowlers are also travelling a lot and it does take its toll. It’s different for batsmen. But for fast bowlers it is tough. They may say it’s just 4 overs in T20 but it's a lot more than that physically and mentally. The challenge from batter comes from 360-degree shots and it has been exciting to watch them adapt to challenges.

My final question Danny, who is going to be the IPL winner of 2021?

Always tough to predict that. I mean Mumbai Indians are a Powerhouse, Chennai Super Kings used to be the other powerhouse and Kolkata Knight Riders haven’t won it for a while and Delhi got to the final last year. Everyone wants a new winner, can RCB pull their acts together. They have got a very balanced side now. Could RCB be the Champs for 2021? Let’s see!

Vimal Kumar
Vimal Kumar is a senior sports journalist who has covered multiple cricket world cups and Rio Olympics in the last two decades. Vimal is also the author of Sachin: Cricketer Of The Century and The Cricket Fanatic’s Essential Guide.
first published: Mar 29, 2021 07:37 am