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Morgan To Miss Ireland Match For IPL

February 18th, 2015 | by admin
Morgan To Miss Ireland Match For IPL
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One way or another, it seems certain that England will have a different captain – and coach – for their first ODI after the World Cup.

With confirmation that Eoin Morgan will be involved in the IPL – it was not certain he would be bought – comes confirmation that he will be unavailable for the ODI against Ireland in Malahide on May 8.

Nobody, either coaches or players, involved in the England tour to the Caribbean, which is scheduled to finish on May 5, will be considered for the trip. So candidates such as Jos Buttler, the team’s official vice-captain, Joe Root, Stuart Broad and Ian Bell are all unavailable. Morgan has been assured by the ECB he can miss the Ireland ODI.

It seems that Mark Robinson, the Sussex director of cricket, is favourite to coach the team – manage might be a more appropriate term – while James Taylor must have a great chance of becoming an England captain. Don’t be surprised if Andy Flower also returns to the coaching team in some role.

It might, at first glance, appear odd to allow Morgan to play in a foreign domestic league rather than an international fixture. Particularly at a time when England’s resources are so stretched and they are playing a fast-improving foe.

But there is a growing sense within English cricket that one of the problems with the national side’s limited-overs form is their lack of experience of the biggest domestic tournaments around the world. There is an understanding that more experience of big crowds, high-pressure situations and the chance to share ideas with other leading international players might outweigh the short-term disadvantages.

Those disadvantages are real, though. By diluting county cricket further – and with young player incentives and tougher work permit criteria, the ECB have diluted it a great deal in the last decade – the gap between the domestic and international games grows further. There is, ironically, more need to encourage players to participate in competitions such as the IPL and the Big Bash. It is, in short, creating another problem by solving a self-created problem.

Morgan insists his decision to play in the IPL does not signify an end to his Test ambitions. In other circumstances, with an England Test place at least on the horizon, Morgan might have chosen to skip the IPL and concentrate on Championship cricket with a view to convincing the England selectors, as he did last season when he tried to secure one of the middle-order vacancies which emerged after the Ashes whitewash.

But that did not work and there is no realistic prospect of a recall in the short-term, so Morgan has reasoned his future is better served by gaining more experience, and money, from another IPL stint.

“My Test ambitions still lie very strongly,” he said in Wellington as England completed their first training session of the day. “But opportunities in the Test team at the moment aren’t there.

“I’ve not given up on it. I’m only 28.

“It’s really important where I’m at in my career to refocus on my basics of what I’ve learnt over the last six years I’ve played for England. One of those processes was playing in the IPL. It does give you great confidence, you learn a lot along the way and it gives you great energy.”

Whether Morgan will merit selection in England’s ODI side by May remains to be seen. For all the questions he is asked about his form – and all the fine words he uses to explain it – the fact is he has scored two runs in five innings. Brando delivering Shakespeare couldn’t make that sound good.

Morgan looked in the best form of all England batsmen in middle practise on Wednesday. Which is, depending on your outlook, either hugely encouraging or deeply depressing. But the thought that lingered while watching them attempt to slog delivery after delivery out of the ground was not that they are scoring too slowly. It’s that they are being dismissed too quickly.

Reasoning that he had been “unlucky” in the game against Australia, Morgan admitted he was at a bit of a loss to explain his grim run.

“I don’t understand it,” he said. “I’ve done the same things that I’ve been doing since the start of the tour and I started the tour with a hundred. That’s only five games ago.

“You don’t look any further than what’s in front of you and I’ve done that and it hasn’t worked. But I believe it will work and when it does hopefully I can cash in on it and hopefully make it either a match-winning performance or build on somebody else’s performance.”

The match against New Zealand is not a must-win game as far as qualification for the quarter-finals is concerned. But if England suffer a setback against any of the Associate sides – and, as it is less than a year since they were beaten by Netherlands in the World T20, there can be no room for complacency – or even see a game washed out by rain, which is far from unheard of in New Zealand, then victory in such a game would allow them to breathe a great deal more easily.

It would also renew confidence dimmed by the thrashing in Melbourne. If England really do have any hope of progressing into the further stages of this competition – and that, in itself, is a moot point – they are going to have to show, at some stage, that they can beat the better teams.

Morgan, as ever, remains positive. Slightly oddly, positive. He maintains that England’s confidence remains high as they have not been “blown away” in a single game since arriving in Australia and, in answering a question about the significance in the absence of Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott, reasoned that the team has enjoyed “a lot of success” since they played.

Such a view is hard to support. England were thrashed by 111 runs in Melbourne and the tri-series final by 112 runs in Perth. And, since Trott last played – less than 18-months ago – England have won just one ODI series.

But his point about the need for senior players – the likes of Bell and Broad and James Anderson – to deliver was unarguable. Too many in this team are doing just enough to get by, get enough to retain a place in the side and justify their own positions, without producing the performances that shape games.

“Our senior players will need to stand up,” he said. “We didn’t do it at the MCG which was disappointing. Guys like myself, Jimmy, Broady, Belly need to make contributions in order to make the young guys feel quite comfortable within themselves.”

Lose against New Zealand and nobody in the squad will feel comfortable.

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