Lance Morris’ West Australian teammates have put the West Indies on notice, with one former Test all-rounder describing him as “the fastest bowler in the country” ahead of what could be his first match for Australia.
The West Australian quick, who can rock the speed gun regularly hitting close to 150kmh, is one of two new faces in the Test squad for the match beginning in Adelaide later this week, with Michael Neser also there as cover.
Morris’ inclusion caps a meteoric rise for the 24-year-old and former Test all-rounder Hilton Cartwright, his teammate at WA, had “no doubt” the tearaway would produce his weaponry at Test level.
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“Mitchell Starc has been world class for a very long time, but I genuinely think Lance is the quickest bowler in Australian cricket at the moment,” Cartwright said.
“The way Mitch goes about his business is quite different to what Lance does in that he swings the ball a bit differently, but their roles are pretty similar when it comes to pace, bouncers and roughing up the tail.
“If they do play together, Mitchell Starc might even push himself a bit more because he has a bit of competition.
“If he (Morris) does exactly what he’s been doing for Western Australian cricket then I have no doubt that he’ll perform on that stage.”
Aaron Hardie grew up playing cricket with Morris, with the pair winning a state under-19s championship a few years ago.
He’s had the pleasure of seeing him evolve his game after a couple of niggling injuries, while he’s also had the misfortune of facing him in the nets and having to field in the slips when he steams in.
“He bowled fast back then, but he bowls a lot faster now,” Hardie said.
“It’s pretty horrible facing him in the nets. I was standing at slip to him in our Shield game last week, and it was so fast. He’s bowling beautifully at the moment and his control has gotten so much better over the past 12 months.”
That control is why his nickname has stayed the same, albeit with new meaning.
“We called him the ‘Wild Thing’ because we didn’t know where his bowling would go, but now we call him the ‘Wild Thing’ because he bowls wildly fast,” Cartwright added.
“It’s scary how quick he bowls, and we have to face him in the nets at the WACA which is a bloody nightmare.
“His job is to roughen up batters and clean up the tail, so he practises all of that against us in the nets. We’re good batters but we all struggle against it. It’s amazing to watch him go about his work.
“He can run in and bowl a vicious head high bumper, but he then comes in next ball and hits the top of off stump. To have such control at that speed is a very rare commodity.”
While the West Indian batters should be shuddering in their boots at the prospect of Morris playing in Adelaide, there’s one Australian player who should be equally worried.
Alex Carey is used to keeping to some express bowlers, but according to West Australia gloveman Josh Philippe, Morris is on another level.
“He’s a nightmare to keep to,” he said.
“He’s got a habit of swinging the ball a fair bit after it bounces and he gets a fair bit of wobble, so it’s never fun behind the stumps when it hits the gloves so hard.”