one of the individual highlights from the 2019 season was a maiden first-class half century from worcestershire paceman charlie morris against the fiery bowling of australian duo mitchell starc and josh hazlewood at New Road in early august.
morris, such a popular person and player with county supporters, received the kind of standing ovation from a sizeable crowd normally reserved for someone scoring a hundred when he reached the milestone.
it was achieved in partnership with alex milton and the pair were given a real testing time by aussie bowlers looking to stake their claim to play in the up coming second ashes test.
but, from a worcestershire point of view, it also highlighted how much morris has worked on improving his batting skills and the importance of the lower order chipping in with runs which could make the difference between winning and losing.
morris recalled: “looking back, myself and milts always laugh about it now. we were actually laughing out in the middle at the time because you are getting peppered by their bowling attack.
“it was tough, it was really hard but we had a smile on our face and i just remember saying to milts half-way through ‘one day, we will be able to have a pint and laugh about this but right now we’d better get our heads down and crack on with it.’
“equally those are the moments you pinch yourself. when you are a cricketer, to play against people like starc and hazlewood, to have those two run in and bowl at you…….i’ve been a fan of them for years and have so much respect for them and how good they are.
“to be facing them, although it was unpleasant to be facing a barrage of short bowling at times, you almost laugh and enjoy the moment. i thought at the time it was a win-win situation because if you get out, it’s expected, and if you do well, everyone is delighted and you feel like you’ve gone above and beyond what you are expected to do.
“that certainly helps in that situation. you just play your cricket and enjoy it and relish the moment.
“i didn’t know joe (leach) was going to declare so i thought i had better not celebrate too much when i got to fifty because he (starc) had another ball left in the over and i’d already had five short balls in the over!”
morris has always been renowned for his hard-working approach with his bowling so it is no surprise he has adopted the same approach to his batting.
he said: “i have worked really hard on it and will continue to do so. i feel like i’ve got a solid defensive game and i just want to keep improving my attacking shots.
“the biggest confidence booster is managing to get some runs against australia. i now feel like i can do it against anyone.
“the confidence it has given me, to manage to get through something like that, is the biggest achievement. hopefully i can do that in championship matches.
“is it important the lower order chip in? one hundred per cent. it could be the difference between winning and losing.
“whether the top order don’t manage to get runs and we manage to push up to a score, or we manage to get a good score on the board and then the tail push us up to a higher total, it can pay dividends.
“it is the worse thing for a bowler when the lower order get runs because you just want to bowl them out and get off the pitch.
“if they put on 75-100 runs, it makes a huge difference.”