Charlie Morris says having Moeen Ali available for a sizeable chunk of Vitality Blast cricket for Worcestershire Rapids is “like gold dust”.
But the seam bowler stresses the Rapids are not a “one-man team” and have many other players capable of significant contributions, as the Vitality Blast competition has already demonstrated in 2021.
Morris himself falls into that category given his impressive start to the season with two wickets in each of the first three games, including big-name scalps in Alex Hales and Jos Buttler.
He has overall figures of 11-0-79-6 from the games against Notts Outlaws, Northamptonshire Steelbacks and Lancashire Lightning from a mixture of bowling in the powerplay, middle and end of an innings.
Morris said: “Having Mo for a block of games is massive, a huge part of our side. People see on the pitch how he strikes the ball and what he offers from a bowling perspective.
“He is an integral part of the side. His presence, his leadership, the way he talks in the dressing room is also huge.
“Having him available is gold dust for us. Mo is amazing. The more we can have him around, the better. He is such a strong aspect of the side.
“It is also important to remember that we have many good contributions from many other players.
“We’ve got a lot of very good domestic, white-ball players in our side like Riki (Wessels), Brett (D’Oliveira), Ben (Dwarshuis) and Ish (Sodhi) in the two overseas spots, and Ben Cox had a great knock the other night at Northampton.
“It is not a one-man team. We talk about all of us contributing together and getting the most of our attributes as a team.”
Morris has still only played 16 T20 games in his career, although he was a member of the side in the quarter-final, semi-final, and final in 2019 and made six appearances last summer.
He said: “You are always looking to improve your white-ball skills. I’ve got a lot more work to do, but I’ve got simple plans and try each winter to upskill my white-ball stuff.
“It would be fair to say that at the start of my career, I have probably been a red ball bowler but over the last few years have started to play a bit more white-ball cricket.
“I still haven’t played a lot of T20 cricket, and I’m still learning my trade and just trying to find the right formula in terms of what I can offer.
“As long as I keep getting better at that, then hopefully it will put me in a spot to keep playing for Worcestershire in white-ball cricket.
“I’ve enjoyed having a run. If we are honest, it’s been a tough red ball start with nine games in nine weeks, and we are really enjoying our white-ball cricket at the minute.
“It’s letting the shackles off and just playing with freedom and doing what we do well and backing our games, and I’m really enjoying that.
“I think it’s important to stay level headed. You are never too far away from getting whacked as a bowler in T20 cricket and that can happen at any point.
“But for now, I’m just enjoying each game, riding the wave.”
Regarding the win over Lancashire, Morris said: “It was a great performance. We knew it was always going to be a tough fixture because Lancashire are a very good side so we are delighted to come away with the win.
“All round, we had an excellent game. We bowled well, and Riki (Wessels) and Brett (D’Oliveira) were outstanding in the run chase. We are very pleased.
“The way Riki and Brett did that on a tough wicket, where the ball wasn’t coming on easily, and the way they adapted their game to the bowlers, was incredible.
“Dolly was outstanding with the ball and bat but with his knock in particular. He could easily have chipped one up, but he made sure he did the job, and that is exactly what Mo asked at half-time, for one of us to make a telling knock and go through and win it.
“That’s exactly what Dolly did, and Riki did what he does up front and is one of the hardest batters to bowl at in domestic white-ball cricket.
“It is great to see because, when he is in that form, it is horrible to bowl at him.”
The Rapids lost three wickets in the powerplay against the Outlaws but only one versus the Steelbacks and none against Lightning.
Morris said: “When you are bowling, you want to take wickets in the powerplay because it kills the run rate, and you take a bit of momentum out of the opposition.
“Likewise, when we are chasing, you want to have wickets in hand, and it is that balance between going hard and making the most of having the two guys who are out there.”