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Eoin Morgan looks to the future with England

Eoin Morgan
Morgan has set his sights on breaking into England's Test side in the future

By Harry Reekie

It is a quirk of cricket's cosmopolitan new age that England's most dangerous batsmen for the one-day series against Bangladesh learned their trade abroad.

While the attention will inevitably fall on Kevin Pietersen's attempts to reaffirm his status as chief destroyer, a modest Dubliner will be looking to maintain some inspirational recent form for his adopted nation.

Eoin Morgan has quietly established himself as one of England's most important limited-overs batsmen in the past year.

The 23-year-old has contributed some memorable knocks since making his first appearance against West Indies in May 2009.

Some much-needed invention surprised the Australian bowlers in the ODIs following the Ashes Test victory last summer before a bullish 67 off only 34 balls against South Africa in the Champions Trophy in September further caught the attention.

But it was the left-hander's match-winning 85 off 45 balls in the first Twenty20 of the recent tour of South Africa that truly made observers sit up and take notice.


Now Bangladesh lie in wait in a tour with a somewhat lower profile. England are expected to win, and win well against a team still rated as one of world cricket's minnows.

So is Morgan on a hiding to nothing in the coming weeks, with fans suddenly expecting, rather than hoping, for fireworks?

"No, I don't see it like that at all," he told BBC Sport. "I see it as a great opportunity for me and a good way to cement my place in the side.

"I don't feel like I'm playing for my place in the England team. I feel very comfortable but I still don't feel like a permanent fixture.

"I've had a good six months but that doesn't make you a fixture in any side. International cricket is a hard place to play so I need to keep performing."

England supporters are clearly not the only ones who have noted Morgan's attacking abilities.

He will be one of only a handful of England players involved in the Indian Premier League later this year after being bought by Royal Challengers Bangalore for $220,000 (£134,000) in the recent auction.

An impressive achievement in itself, but made all the more notable considering players of the calibre of Shahid Afridi, Graeme Swann and Brad Haddin went unsold.

Many cricketers would allow such an obvious success to go to their head but Morgan talks about the auction, and the tournament, with modesty.

Eoin Morgan attacks
Morgan's ability to play aggressive strokes has proved invaluable

"Getting bought was a huge confidence boost for me, especially seeing all the guys who were unsold," he said.

"I went through lots of emotions watching it on the internet. Seeing all the players not get bought does make you a little bit nervous but it was fantastic when I saw Bangalore had bought me.

"Obviously I want to do well in the IPL but it isn't the biggest thing for me right now.

"The priority is with England. I've been working really hard over the last few months to get where I am now so England is certainly the most important thing for me."

Team director Andy Flower will no doubt be glad of the commitment, particularly with such a hectic schedule leading up to the World Cup on the sub-continent in early 2011.

So what are Morgan's long-term ambitions? Does he feel a place on the plane for the Ashes series in Australia next winter is realistic?

"The long-term plan is definitely Test cricket," he admits with certainty. "The IPL will be great and obviously playing for England in the one-dayers and Twenty20 games is fantastic.

"But the ultimate thing for any player is Test cricket and I'm no different.

"It's too close to get into the side for the Ashes. I honestly believe that I'm not ready for Test cricket yet as I've got so much in my game that I can improve.

"But the ultimate aim is to take part in an Ashes series and a World Cup."

If the runs continue to flow in the coming months, few would bet against it.

England play the first of three one-day internationals against Bangladesh on Sunday, 28 February.

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see also
England rule out Kieswetter call
18 Feb 10 |  England
Morgan seals Bangalore IPL deal
19 Jan 10 |  Cricket
Morgan still cementing his place
07 Nov 09 |  England
Morgan leads England to victory
25 Sep 09 |  England
Morgan in 'good nick' at crucial time
14 May 09 |  Middlesex
Morgan vows to attack for England
14 May 09 |  Middlesex
Morgan backs Middlesex promotion
16 Feb 09 |  Middlesex
England in UAE & Bangladesh 2010
23 Feb 10 |  Cricket

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