Eoin Morgan has not given up on returning to international cricket, despite a long-running exile from England’s Test side.
The Dublin-born batsman, who has continued to feature in limited overs matches, hasn’t played a Test for England in over two years, his last appearance coming against Pakistan in February 2012.
As such, the new County Championship season has provided Morgan with a perfect opportunity to show he is capable of holding his wicket in the longer forms of the game.
Middlesex have five games in six weeks, uninterrupted by the calls of international selectors, and Morgan has welcomed some much-needed respite from the troubled England camp.
His desire to make the summer Tests against Sri Lanka and India has not waned, however, and he told Sky Sports he feels his role for his country has “always been in the middle order”.
That is one area England must be looking to strengthen; Morgan could even slot into the void left by Jonathan Trott’s continuing absence.
Unlike Morgan, Trott is yet to impress for his own county, Warwickshire, and is perhaps struggling to cope with the media attention on his return to first-class cricket after leaving the Ashes with ‘burn-out’. Indeed, Trott has now announced he intends to take another break after suffering with further difficulties off the field.
Despite captaining the Lions in the past, and having also led England in T20s, to Morgan’s disadvantage is that too many within the ECB characterise him as a limited overs specialist.
Middlesex’s decision to make him their limited overs captain in February will have done little to ease that view, and neither will some of his shorter innings in the Test side.
Nonetheless, Morgan insists he is capable of cementing a place in the England side, and selectors should not forget some of his finest hours: a century against Pakistan at Trent Bridge and another against India would make him a better candidate than Ravi Bopara, who has too often been favoured.
Like all England hopefuls, selection may depend to a great extent on Andy Flower’s successor, and the lull in international cricket will at least give the ECB time for some serious consideration. At a personal level, Morgan has thrived under Ashley Giles’ leadership in ODIs and T20s, and may well have a better shot should the former spinner be appointed.
Morgan hit 86 to help Middlesex to victory over Nottinghamshire, and is hoping his form will be enough to catch the England selectors’ eyes.
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