Mike Holmans May 24, 2010

Bevan or Vaughan

The headlines said that Paul Collingwood and Stuart Broad are being “rested” from England's first Test against Bangladesh later this week
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Will Eoin Morgan's methods work in the longest version? © Getty Images

The headlines said that Paul Collingwood and Stuart Broad are being “rested” from England's first Test against Bangladesh later this week. True enough, if they aren't in the squad, they won't be playing, but it's a funny old defintion of “rest” which means that Broad will be pumping iron pretty intensively in the gym to build his strength up while Collingwood does rehab on his shoulder. The basic message is that 90% fit is not fit enough: they would rather have eleven fully-fit players than the eleven theoretically-best with a couple of them unable to perform to their maximum.

It takes a bit of getting used to, but it is the logical result of year-round international cricket. The old-timers would have raised a stink rather than an eyebrow at “resting” a first-choice player from a home Test, but in their day a player who was getting jaded would take the winter off to get recharged after too much cricket: the only tour it was impermissible to sit out voluntarily was an Ashes. (Well, you could sit it out if you chose, but it would put a big blackmark in the selectors' notebooks.)

The immediate consequence is that Eoin Morgan is set to make his England debut in the long form of the game, which will be fascinating.

Since I tipped him for success a year ago, Morgan has amply demonstrated that he is one of the most exciting limited-over players in the world, but picking him for Tests represents quite a leap of faith by the selectors.

Morgan's first-class record is pretty modest. His career amounts to 2500 runs at 36, including 6 centuries, one of them a not-out double. Not exactly screaming for Test selection. Nor has he been distinguishing himself in the first half of this year's championship: what with the ODIs against Australia, the IPL and the World Twenty20, he last played a first-class match last August, when he scored 16 and 17 against the might of Glamorgan.

And it's a well-known fact that there are players who are geniuses against a white ball but rather less than overwhelming when it comes to Tests. Michael Bevan was known as the greatest finisher of them all in ODIs – and left-handed rocket power at the end of an innings is also what Morgan is good at – but he never established himself as a Test player. Despite having played the format for seven years, Yuvraj Singh has yet to really convince as a Test player while being one of the game's most dangerous one-day batsmen.

England will be hoping that he does not follow in their footsteps but instead treads the path marked out by Michael Vaughan, who had a similarly uninspiring first-class record when picked for England but blossomed into (briefly) the number one ranked Test batsman in the world.

Morgan could not be much further from Vaughan in terms of style. Vaughan was perhaps England's most classical batsman since Peter May while Morgan's range of shots has yet to be fully documented by researchers into new species. But what both of them have is extraordinary phlegm: one of Morgan's more impressive traits is his obvious calm at the crease whatever the situation – a coolness which Vaughan was required to show on his Test debut, finding himself standing there with the responsibility of digging England out of the hole of being 2-4.

It has to be said that it will be a major surprise if Morgan faces anything similar when he walks out to bat against Bangladesh. Nor is he all that likely to have to do the job with which Collingwood, whom he nominally replaces, has become most associated - that of remaining strokeless for hours trying to stave off almost inevitable defeat.

The suspicion is that if the scoreboard isn't clicking up the runs at a regular rate, Morgan will become frustrated and start playing silly shots and get out. With Morgan, of course, one has to be quite careful when describing a shot as “silly” because what is unconventional and unorthodox for a Vaughanesque batsman may be one of Morgan's most well-practiced strokes – but that probably won't stop people labelling a safe-looking backward flip which is impossibly caught by a salmon-leaping fielder as irresponsible.

Whether Morgan is a Bevan or a Vaughan is the question the selectors are appointed to estimate the answer to. And it can only be their best estimate: the beauty of this sport is that none of us, not even Morgan himself, can possibly know how he will fare until he goes out and tries.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • waterbuffalo on June 11, 2010, 6:57 GMT

    I saw bevan's last test inngs at the MCG, he plodded to 35 in two hours or so, steve waugh was so angry he dropped him, Michael Vaughan is a first rate batsman, scoring two or three centuries in australia, and blasting them in England, the comparison of Bevan to Vaughan is absurd, Bevan batted at 6 for the one day side, Vaughan batted at 3 for the Test side, and he was also a superb captain, absolutely magnificent. As a former captain myself, I know when somebody is special, the field placings he created, unbelievable, and aesthetically, he was a beautiful batsman to watch, unlike Bevan who was as ugly as a crab.

  • Damith on May 30, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    Why not/He's a marvellous player.He can adopt to any situation

  • Ruester on May 30, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    Im not a Collingwood fan, I would love to see a more exciting batsman for England....but he does an amazing job with the talent he has got. Beven was an amazing player and I witnessed some gutsy, match winning performances from him seemingly everytime Australia was in a hole. Bevan does not have a first class record that can compare to the likes of Hick and Ramprakash, the most prolific first class performers for a fifteen year period at least. Neither made it for England, bad management? not enough chances? poor selection policy? who knows why those players did not perform. Just think if they had we would not of been Aussies whipping boys for that whole period of time. Bevan was the same....there just happend to be better players with stronger temprements in a golden age of Australian cricket.

  • Arun on May 30, 2010, 2:51 GMT

    I fail to understand why Michael Vaughan is given such hype by the Britishers. True, he helped England win the Ashes. But, don't we know who the real hero of 2005 is? Yes, he was briefly ranked number one. That was just one purple patch in all his career. I personally feel that he is a very ordinary batsman. As far as the comparison to Bevan is concerned, I think it is too much too early. I wouldn't want to make comparisons to the greats of the game (ODI game) as it would make Eoin Morgan another Ajantha Mendis, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma or a JP Duminy who were hailed as the next Muralitharan, Javagal Srinath, Sachin Tendulkar and Gary Kirsten. We should allow the player to set targets for himself rather than others setting them for him.

  • Sisyphus on May 29, 2010, 13:18 GMT

    Reading this article, I couldn't help thinking of Neil Fairbrother...

  • Bevan Perera on May 28, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    Morgan will be a stubborn cricketer like many others who exceeded their cricketing talent with superior control of emotions(Temperament) like (no comparison at all of any player vs player) Steve Waugh, Thilan Samaraweera, Collingwood, Vettori ,Chanderpaul to name a few. As for Bevan, I feel he could not fight the hype that was created by the media in his own mind about playing the short ball. Otherwise having played shield cricket it should have been a mere formality. Cricket is all but a mind game. Bevan in a benchmark in ODI.

  • puz on May 28, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    Since Graham Thorpe left, we haven't had anyone at no.5 who can grind it out in difficult situations but also have that extra bit of class and reliability (i.e more than Collingwood, Bell). I hope Morgan becomes that player, we've been short of a world class lower middle order player since Thorpe left.

  • graeme on May 28, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    The comparison to Bevan is absurd. He was a superb with an incredible 1st class average-57!- in the hardest 1st class competition in the world. the Sheffield Shield in Australia, not the soft county system. His one day record also stands out especially as he came in at number 6 most of his career when the easy and best batting positions are at 1-3.

    His test record is modest but so are may other players at certain times in their careers. Some are given loads of time and tests to prove themselves, Mark Taylor(who can forget his lean trot!) and Steve Waugh for instance. Waugh is considered the 'hard' man of Australian cricket but in his first 29! tests(as opposed to Bevan's 18) he averaged just 30 with the bat(bevan-29) without a century! He went on and scored over 30 test centuries and averaged over 50, what if Bevan had been given the same chances....

  • Jeff on May 27, 2010, 17:38 GMT

    There have been a number of England players over the past 10 years that have had modest 1st class records when compared to their test records. As well as Vaughan (ave 41 tests, 35 in other 1st class cricket) there was Trescothick (44 in tests, 39 in other 1st class) and even Strauss outperforms in tests (43 vs 41)

    What does this say?

    Either the England selectors are brilliant at spotting players with the right skills/temprament for tests or that county cricket is harder than test cricket !!!!

    Let's hope Morgan follows these other players.

  • corporal on May 27, 2010, 15:05 GMT

    Good post Bevan fan, Bevan really blossumed in his later years but didn't have a chance of breaking into an all powerful Australin batting lineup by that stage. Look at the success's of Katich coming back into the side in his 30's, I'm sure Bevan would have emulated this given the chance. The same as probably Hodge, Love, Rogers and the host of other great domestic aussie batsmen who were kept out during the golden years.

    Collingwood is a tough gritty player however Bevan was a far more talented batsman he just bloomed in the wrong era.

    Regarding Eon Morgan, talented OD player but a bit of a technique concern if you are only averaging 36 in County (granted he has had limited chances to play FC recently). Won't be unhappy if he is in the side when Australia unleash Johnson, Bollinger, Harris & co during the ashes!.

  • waterbuffalo on June 11, 2010, 6:57 GMT

    I saw bevan's last test inngs at the MCG, he plodded to 35 in two hours or so, steve waugh was so angry he dropped him, Michael Vaughan is a first rate batsman, scoring two or three centuries in australia, and blasting them in England, the comparison of Bevan to Vaughan is absurd, Bevan batted at 6 for the one day side, Vaughan batted at 3 for the Test side, and he was also a superb captain, absolutely magnificent. As a former captain myself, I know when somebody is special, the field placings he created, unbelievable, and aesthetically, he was a beautiful batsman to watch, unlike Bevan who was as ugly as a crab.

  • Damith on May 30, 2010, 7:40 GMT

    Why not/He's a marvellous player.He can adopt to any situation

  • Ruester on May 30, 2010, 4:56 GMT

    Im not a Collingwood fan, I would love to see a more exciting batsman for England....but he does an amazing job with the talent he has got. Beven was an amazing player and I witnessed some gutsy, match winning performances from him seemingly everytime Australia was in a hole. Bevan does not have a first class record that can compare to the likes of Hick and Ramprakash, the most prolific first class performers for a fifteen year period at least. Neither made it for England, bad management? not enough chances? poor selection policy? who knows why those players did not perform. Just think if they had we would not of been Aussies whipping boys for that whole period of time. Bevan was the same....there just happend to be better players with stronger temprements in a golden age of Australian cricket.

  • Arun on May 30, 2010, 2:51 GMT

    I fail to understand why Michael Vaughan is given such hype by the Britishers. True, he helped England win the Ashes. But, don't we know who the real hero of 2005 is? Yes, he was briefly ranked number one. That was just one purple patch in all his career. I personally feel that he is a very ordinary batsman. As far as the comparison to Bevan is concerned, I think it is too much too early. I wouldn't want to make comparisons to the greats of the game (ODI game) as it would make Eoin Morgan another Ajantha Mendis, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma or a JP Duminy who were hailed as the next Muralitharan, Javagal Srinath, Sachin Tendulkar and Gary Kirsten. We should allow the player to set targets for himself rather than others setting them for him.

  • Sisyphus on May 29, 2010, 13:18 GMT

    Reading this article, I couldn't help thinking of Neil Fairbrother...

  • Bevan Perera on May 28, 2010, 18:47 GMT

    Morgan will be a stubborn cricketer like many others who exceeded their cricketing talent with superior control of emotions(Temperament) like (no comparison at all of any player vs player) Steve Waugh, Thilan Samaraweera, Collingwood, Vettori ,Chanderpaul to name a few. As for Bevan, I feel he could not fight the hype that was created by the media in his own mind about playing the short ball. Otherwise having played shield cricket it should have been a mere formality. Cricket is all but a mind game. Bevan in a benchmark in ODI.

  • puz on May 28, 2010, 12:03 GMT

    Since Graham Thorpe left, we haven't had anyone at no.5 who can grind it out in difficult situations but also have that extra bit of class and reliability (i.e more than Collingwood, Bell). I hope Morgan becomes that player, we've been short of a world class lower middle order player since Thorpe left.

  • graeme on May 28, 2010, 10:46 GMT

    The comparison to Bevan is absurd. He was a superb with an incredible 1st class average-57!- in the hardest 1st class competition in the world. the Sheffield Shield in Australia, not the soft county system. His one day record also stands out especially as he came in at number 6 most of his career when the easy and best batting positions are at 1-3.

    His test record is modest but so are may other players at certain times in their careers. Some are given loads of time and tests to prove themselves, Mark Taylor(who can forget his lean trot!) and Steve Waugh for instance. Waugh is considered the 'hard' man of Australian cricket but in his first 29! tests(as opposed to Bevan's 18) he averaged just 30 with the bat(bevan-29) without a century! He went on and scored over 30 test centuries and averaged over 50, what if Bevan had been given the same chances....

  • Jeff on May 27, 2010, 17:38 GMT

    There have been a number of England players over the past 10 years that have had modest 1st class records when compared to their test records. As well as Vaughan (ave 41 tests, 35 in other 1st class cricket) there was Trescothick (44 in tests, 39 in other 1st class) and even Strauss outperforms in tests (43 vs 41)

    What does this say?

    Either the England selectors are brilliant at spotting players with the right skills/temprament for tests or that county cricket is harder than test cricket !!!!

    Let's hope Morgan follows these other players.

  • corporal on May 27, 2010, 15:05 GMT

    Good post Bevan fan, Bevan really blossumed in his later years but didn't have a chance of breaking into an all powerful Australin batting lineup by that stage. Look at the success's of Katich coming back into the side in his 30's, I'm sure Bevan would have emulated this given the chance. The same as probably Hodge, Love, Rogers and the host of other great domestic aussie batsmen who were kept out during the golden years.

    Collingwood is a tough gritty player however Bevan was a far more talented batsman he just bloomed in the wrong era.

    Regarding Eon Morgan, talented OD player but a bit of a technique concern if you are only averaging 36 in County (granted he has had limited chances to play FC recently). Won't be unhappy if he is in the side when Australia unleash Johnson, Bollinger, Harris & co during the ashes!.

  • hj on May 27, 2010, 9:56 GMT

    eoin morgan is becoming a great batsmen.with all due respect to graham gooch morgan has the ability to surpass him as englands best odi batsman.the english selectors can be thanked because they have overcome their prejudice of thinking an unorthodox batsman only as an odi player.hope to see him in action

  • Umair_umair on May 26, 2010, 20:42 GMT

    Hey Mike. I somehow agree and I really feel sad and sorry for Ed Joyce, Who is almost forced to revert back to playing for Ireland. Alassss we would never see him playing a test match for England? What a waste....... How inconsistent the England selectors are. By the way, you missed to mention the coincidence of Ed Joyce making the statement at a time when Morgan is getting in.

  • Mohammad Asad on May 26, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    Mohammad Asad from USA... Do not take Bangladesh lightly...They are very much capable of doing the odds..... Good Luck Bangladesh !!!

    Mohammad Asad from USA........

  • chris o'neil on May 26, 2010, 12:19 GMT

    how many test matches did bevan win australia mr. Bevan fan? Collingwood has stopped england losing the ashes and he was the difference between a draw and a heavy defeat against SA- all in the last 12 months!! and i think my grandad could average 50+ on flat tracks in aus, in fact he did!

  • Richard S on May 26, 2010, 9:12 GMT

    Bevan fan, as much as your commitment to Michael is admirable I'm afraid your way off. As good as Bevan was in ODI's and Domestic First Class cricket, he was rubbish at test level. He was in the test team for one ashes series in England and was a walking wicket due to his technical flaws. So, if he was a walking wicket against Englands rather average late 90's early 00's vintage how would he have done any better for England against McGrath, Gillespie and Warne?

  • fraser on May 26, 2010, 1:42 GMT

    @Bevan Fan. im australian and if one thing keeps annoying me its the constant abuse of Paul Collingwood by other aussies. in many ways i think its sour grapes cause he's foiled us or delayed us many times (lords 05, Adelaide 06, CB series 07, Cardiff 09, T20 WC 10). for some reason most aussies just can't giv him his due.

  • CricketPissek on May 25, 2010, 20:03 GMT

    hope morgan does well. he can do a lot to make test cricket popular. don't forget that Sehwag didnt seem like he'd ever become the great test batsman he is (i'm not indian :P)

  • Telboy on May 25, 2010, 17:02 GMT

    Bevan fan,I also admired Michael Bevan. he was a fantastic player. It was unfortunate that he never achieved his full potential at Test level.

    I think that refereing to Paul Collingwood however as a dud in an equaition is a little harsh. He has been knocked so many times but has bounced back and has been an excellent Test performer for England.

    I wish Eoin Morgan the best. He shows characteristics which suggest he has a place at the highest level.

  • ken on May 25, 2010, 13:56 GMT

    The point is, Bevan fan, that despite his stellar odo record and admirable FC stats, he failed at Test level. That does happen. Bevan had a problem with certain deliveries, and opponents at that level targeted him with a lot of success (he averaged a measly 29). He may well have been poorly treated, though I do recall him getting a couple of bites at the cherry, but anyone can see that if Morgan performs more as a Vaughan than a Bevan at Test level, he will have been an inspired pick

  • Ryan on May 25, 2010, 6:00 GMT

    Dont underestimate Bangladesh; they are more then capable of doing the odds. Morgan has been a great recruit but he is very unique in his own catagory, neither voughan nor bevan!

  • Boris on May 25, 2010, 2:54 GMT

    Morgan is a versatile cricketer, he seems to have the dexterity and even a good compact technique and temprament to last in tests. Great to see that he has finally received an opportunity. Sure, he wasn't giving the selectors a serious incentive to select him for tests, but I would nonetheless tip him for success. Vaughan certainly wasn't a world beater when he came in, yet he scored bucketfuls of runs in the 02-03 Ashes in Australia, one of the toughest places and sides to score runs against. Despite not lasting for too long, Bevan was a useful test player too (not to mention the fact that he achieved what many bowlers haven't in long test careers, a 10WM). Morgan is a good pick.

  • shashank on May 25, 2010, 1:34 GMT

    all respect for bevan but he could not play tests is the truth and if tests is the pinnacle of the game than he lost the battle i think.there are hundreds of players who have scored lots of hundreds in domestic tournaments but done nothing at international level and vice versa.what say

  • Procynic on May 25, 2010, 0:16 GMT

    I think partly why Morgan moved to England was to play Test cricket. And you're right in saying that although his technique may not be best suited for test cricket his attitude is! I do hope England persist with Morgan a bit and ignore the few adjustment problems he faces. In the long run he has a lot to add to England's run to become the number 1 Test team in the world. On a separate note - I too - was a Bevan fan and think that Australia's selectors weren't fair with him. His problem with the short ball was sorted pretty soon after he was dropped but he never got a chance to play test cricket for Australia again. Kind of how they judged Slater to be a Test cricketer at around the same time, even though he scored at a run a ball in Tests!

    [Mike: There's a fascinating interview in the Guardian today (25/06/10) in which Morgan says that playing in a Test would mean far more to him than winning the T20 World Cup.]

  • Bevan fan on May 24, 2010, 22:04 GMT

    I see the point you are trying to make on this topic, but Morgan like Bevan??? You are kidding. Bevan averaged over 50 in ODIs, passed 50 over 50 times (while batting at no 6 most of the time), and scored over 7000 runs. He also had a first class average exactly 20 runs above Morgan AND Vaughn. If Morgan turns into Vaughn, that would be great for all countries coming up against the English - he ended with a Test average of 40!! Hardly a world beater apart from a one off 12 month period. If Bevan had been in the English set up, he would have played 100 Tests and outdone the whole line up for 10 years. Having more opportunities would have taught him to adjust his technique against the bouncer at the test level (something he did just fine in breaking all Sheffield Shield records playing for Tasmania). Morgan will be a lot better than the other dud in this equation (the 20/20 wonder captain Collingwood who was the worst English bat), but nothing like Bevan - not in his dreams...

  • Mahmud on May 24, 2010, 21:42 GMT

    We are inviting to watch the performance of Tamim Iqbal, Shakibul Hassan.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • Mahmud on May 24, 2010, 21:42 GMT

    We are inviting to watch the performance of Tamim Iqbal, Shakibul Hassan.

  • Bevan fan on May 24, 2010, 22:04 GMT

    I see the point you are trying to make on this topic, but Morgan like Bevan??? You are kidding. Bevan averaged over 50 in ODIs, passed 50 over 50 times (while batting at no 6 most of the time), and scored over 7000 runs. He also had a first class average exactly 20 runs above Morgan AND Vaughn. If Morgan turns into Vaughn, that would be great for all countries coming up against the English - he ended with a Test average of 40!! Hardly a world beater apart from a one off 12 month period. If Bevan had been in the English set up, he would have played 100 Tests and outdone the whole line up for 10 years. Having more opportunities would have taught him to adjust his technique against the bouncer at the test level (something he did just fine in breaking all Sheffield Shield records playing for Tasmania). Morgan will be a lot better than the other dud in this equation (the 20/20 wonder captain Collingwood who was the worst English bat), but nothing like Bevan - not in his dreams...

  • Procynic on May 25, 2010, 0:16 GMT

    I think partly why Morgan moved to England was to play Test cricket. And you're right in saying that although his technique may not be best suited for test cricket his attitude is! I do hope England persist with Morgan a bit and ignore the few adjustment problems he faces. In the long run he has a lot to add to England's run to become the number 1 Test team in the world. On a separate note - I too - was a Bevan fan and think that Australia's selectors weren't fair with him. His problem with the short ball was sorted pretty soon after he was dropped but he never got a chance to play test cricket for Australia again. Kind of how they judged Slater to be a Test cricketer at around the same time, even though he scored at a run a ball in Tests!

    [Mike: There's a fascinating interview in the Guardian today (25/06/10) in which Morgan says that playing in a Test would mean far more to him than winning the T20 World Cup.]

  • shashank on May 25, 2010, 1:34 GMT

    all respect for bevan but he could not play tests is the truth and if tests is the pinnacle of the game than he lost the battle i think.there are hundreds of players who have scored lots of hundreds in domestic tournaments but done nothing at international level and vice versa.what say

  • Boris on May 25, 2010, 2:54 GMT

    Morgan is a versatile cricketer, he seems to have the dexterity and even a good compact technique and temprament to last in tests. Great to see that he has finally received an opportunity. Sure, he wasn't giving the selectors a serious incentive to select him for tests, but I would nonetheless tip him for success. Vaughan certainly wasn't a world beater when he came in, yet he scored bucketfuls of runs in the 02-03 Ashes in Australia, one of the toughest places and sides to score runs against. Despite not lasting for too long, Bevan was a useful test player too (not to mention the fact that he achieved what many bowlers haven't in long test careers, a 10WM). Morgan is a good pick.

  • Ryan on May 25, 2010, 6:00 GMT

    Dont underestimate Bangladesh; they are more then capable of doing the odds. Morgan has been a great recruit but he is very unique in his own catagory, neither voughan nor bevan!

  • ken on May 25, 2010, 13:56 GMT

    The point is, Bevan fan, that despite his stellar odo record and admirable FC stats, he failed at Test level. That does happen. Bevan had a problem with certain deliveries, and opponents at that level targeted him with a lot of success (he averaged a measly 29). He may well have been poorly treated, though I do recall him getting a couple of bites at the cherry, but anyone can see that if Morgan performs more as a Vaughan than a Bevan at Test level, he will have been an inspired pick

  • Telboy on May 25, 2010, 17:02 GMT

    Bevan fan,I also admired Michael Bevan. he was a fantastic player. It was unfortunate that he never achieved his full potential at Test level.

    I think that refereing to Paul Collingwood however as a dud in an equaition is a little harsh. He has been knocked so many times but has bounced back and has been an excellent Test performer for England.

    I wish Eoin Morgan the best. He shows characteristics which suggest he has a place at the highest level.

  • CricketPissek on May 25, 2010, 20:03 GMT

    hope morgan does well. he can do a lot to make test cricket popular. don't forget that Sehwag didnt seem like he'd ever become the great test batsman he is (i'm not indian :P)

  • fraser on May 26, 2010, 1:42 GMT

    @Bevan Fan. im australian and if one thing keeps annoying me its the constant abuse of Paul Collingwood by other aussies. in many ways i think its sour grapes cause he's foiled us or delayed us many times (lords 05, Adelaide 06, CB series 07, Cardiff 09, T20 WC 10). for some reason most aussies just can't giv him his due.