Friday 19 January 2018

Cricket: Irishman Eoin Morgan has a point to prove after England recall for one-day international

EOIN Morgan is still aiming to be a front-line international player in all three formats of the game, despite feeling "a long way off" a place in England's Test team.

Irish-born Morgan was dropped for the winter tour of Sri Lanka after averaging just 13.66, with a highest score of 31, in England's 3-0 Test series defeat by Pakistan in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The swashbuckling Middlesex batsman felt so far from the side that he took up the option of a third stint in the Indian Premier League, a decision he does not regret despite the criticism.

Dubliner Morgan has found his form again this season and he heads into England's one-day series against Australia, which starts on Friday, with a point to prove to coach Andy Flower.

"After I missed out on Sri Lanka it was a blow to go from playing to not being involved in the squad whatsoever. The time I spent away gave me time to cool off, reassess and move on," Morgan said.

"I still see myself as a long way off (the Test team). The reality of it is that Jonny Bairstow holds the number six batting position at the moment.

"Competing for it are myself, Ravi Bopara, Samit Patel and whoever has been doing well in county cricket.

"If you look at my path into international cricket it has gone from playing Twenty20s to ODIs and from those opportunities I have challenged for a Test position.

"I see any innings at all as being exposure, a chance to go out and show people what I can do.

"Since I have come back from the IPL I have done okay. I have scored some runs in the Championship and I scored a 50-ball hundred a week and a half ago.

"I feel good but it is a matter of getting runs under my belt and pushing for a position."

Morgan defended his decision to go to the IPL, insisting the time in India not only allowed him to get over the disappointment of being axed but refocus his goals and work on improving his game.

"Every time I have gone to the IPL I have always come back a better player," said Morgan, who is backing the Cricket Foundation's StreetChance programme to help keen young adults in sport and away from crime.

"If I had of been in the Sri Lanka tour squad and one position away from a game I would have maybe considered my options and come back and played some Championship cricket.

"Having not been in the squad it was a no-brainer considering what I have learned over the last couple of years from playing and working in India."

Fewer and fewer cricketers are playing all three formats of the game, with England's list being trimmed further by Kevin Pietersen's retirement from the limited overs game.

But Morgan is aiming for the top and insists it is possible.

"I certainly hope so because that is what I am trying to do," he said.

"The guys you aspire to be like, the very greats of the game are brilliant at all forms of cricket, guys like Mahela Jayawardene or Kumar Sangakkara."

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