England's Irish-born batsman Eoin Morgan has urged young Irish cricketers to follow his lead by defecting to play cricket for England, reports The Sun.
England travel to Malahide today to play their Irish counterparts in a one-off One Day International to act as preparation for their One Day series against Australia.
The visitors' stand-in captain for the clash, Morgan, has potentially sparked a row between the two countries ahead of the match.
Morgan promised to be a leading star of Irish cricket in their pursuit to gain status when he made 99 on his ODI debut for Ireland against Scotland at the age of just 19.
The left-hander went on to play 23 matches for the country of his birth, including a match against England.
However, in 2009, having represented the England Lions and featuring in the Performance squad, he made his full debut for England in the one day arena, qualifying due to English heritage and meeting residency requirements.
It was a hammer blow for Irish Cricket who have also lost another player who is set to feature against them today, Boyd Rankin. And also Ed Joyce, although he has since switched allegiance back to the Emerald Isle as he never managed a test cap.
These are all setbacks for Ireland who hope to have Test status by 2020.
But Morgan, who has since made 16 Test caps and appeared in over 100 games in both One Day formats for England, claims he won't be the last.
The 26-year-old said: “If you watched any of the Test matches this summer, you’re dreaming if you think anything has changed.
“The Ashes is everything. The rivalry, the hype, the standard of cricket and how everyone admires the guys involved should drive players to want to perform there.
“The main factor in deciding whether your aspirations are in England is Test cricket.
“The fact that there are no Tests in Ireland means the same subject just keeps cropping up.
“If you are a young, ambitious guy in Ireland who wants to play Test cricket, you’re going to look elsewhere.
“It’s unfortunate but it’s the nature of playing cricket for Ireland."
Morgan also questioned whether the Country where he grew up should be granted entry into the Test arena, despite some positive wins in the last few years against established sides, such as England in the 2010 World Cup when Kevin O'Brien's blistering century lead Ireland to their most famous victory.
He commented: “In my experience, going to Test nations and particularly somewhere like Bangladesh, who have recently gained Test status, everybody is playing cricket.
“There’s a hunger for it. But, if you go to parks in Ireland, you see Gaelic football and hurling.”
Morgan's comments are bound to see him and his side cop a spicy reaction in front of the expected 10,000 strong crowd at the new stadium in Malahide.
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