England news April 2, 2013

Morgan's IPL high-wire act leaves England hanging

Rather than getting first-class runs in England in April, Eoin Morgan will be enjoying the heat and glamour of the IPL - and putting his slim Ashes chances on the line
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Because of a quirk of fate I'd rather not dwell upon, I found myself following the denouement of the Auckland Test from a cheap hotel in one of the less salubrious parts of Harrow. Don't be fooled by the public school on the hill, it can be a grim spot, especially when you are searching for a pint of decent real ale after a long drive.

It was a reminder of life without Sky TV and, dozing fitfully as England sought to bat out time, cursing that life had not entirely gone according to plan, I awoke occasionally to check the score in the closing session.

When not on ESPNcricinfo's ball-by-ball service, I kept abreast of things in Twitter. It can be rather disconcerting with nine wickets down to read 50 people screaming simultaneously 'Oh, Monty, what have you done!' without anybody thinking to attempt a spot of Neville Cardus in less than 140 characters and actually explaining what had happened, but I got the gist. I have such a wonderful mental image of that dive, I am reluctant to watch the real thing.

Anyway, England clung on and I fell asleep with the satisfying knowledge that after 15 days of Test cricket a 0-0 stalemate was a perfectly fitting conclusion. Not everybody gets it, but then not everybody needs to.

The first thing I wondered when I awoke the next morning was what did Eoin Morgan make of it all? Well, perhaps that was the second thing, after the usual issue of where the bathroom was. Was he entranced by England's heroic escape? Did he mutter that there was nothing to beat Test cricket? Was he consumed by dreams of making his own gloriously unexpected Ashes return this summer?

It would be a peculiar world if everybody was judged by their outpourings on Twitter, but that was where I had passed the early morning so I took a look. There were no tweets to be had on March 26 but on March 27, the day after the Test finished, he had his say. "IPL bound! No more training in the snow," he tweeted and, if you took one look at the accompanying picture - Middlesex's practice bubble at Radlett as temperatures collapsed towards freezing - you had to admit he had a point.

In this spring of all springs, a merciless assault on the build-up to the English season, for a talented and ambitious England cricketer to slip off to IPL excited about the clamour that was about to unfold was perfectly understandable.

Morgan has been full of excitement again today: "Opening ceremony tonight. Pitbull and SRK performing. Should be awesome." He has told a pre-IPL gathering in Kolkata that India is a beautiful country with beautiful people and beautiful food. He even expressed a hope that he could learn to cook it. It is to be hoped that Kolkata Knight Riders will give him a few matches this time. Outside England, nobody quite understands how good he is.

But forget for a moment an English landscape cursed by rain and cold, a landscape in which the trees remain bare and the birds are fighting for survival (you did ask someone to replenish the bird feeder, Eoin?) and substitute an image of the first Ashes Test against Australia at Trent Bridge on July 10. If Morgan's IPL jaunt puts him entirely out of contention, is his decision as wise as it first appears?

Morgan has a clinical mind to rival any England player in history. He can appear as calculating off the field as on, seemingly always in control, measuring his sentences as coolly as he appraises a limited-overs run chase. He is not the sort to find himself in a Harrow guest house when he does not want to be. If he is at the IPL then you can be assured he has examined his options to the nth degree.

On the subject of the Ashes, though, I'm tempted to think he has got it wrong. His analysis has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. He repeatedly indicates that he would come back early to England if the selectors indicated that he was seriously in contention for the Test series against New Zealand and the Ashes to follow. But life is not like that if you are on the Test fringes. It is not England's job to give assurances, it is Morgan's job to make a case.

His positive comments in January caused a little media over-excitement. "I would like to be involved in the IPL again because I have learned a lot from it," he said. "But more so I want to be involved with England this summer. It is two Ashes series and it's what everyone dreams of. But if I am on the fringes things will have to be thought about quite deeply."

"Knowing Morgan, he will fancy he can find an unorthodox route into the Ashes. A successful IPL followed by a triumphant Champions Trophy would be a start"

Then he was not chosen for the New Zealand Test series, thought deeply and decided to throw in his lot with the IPL. Middlesex's managing director of cricket, Angus Fraser, would prefer him at Lord's - and so would England - but Morgan is centrally contracted and the ECB has issued no instructions for him to return early. And anyway, he only averaged 18 for Middlesex in the championship last season. He is a big-match player with a dubious Test technique. He needs to find another way.

Morgan has yet to play a Test against Australia and lost his No. 6 position after a series of failures against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates last year. Perhaps he regards his chances of an Ashes batting berth as slim. But he was selected for the Test tour of India before Christmas and those more highly favoured - the Yorkshire pair of Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow - have not made their case.

Root is the batsman in possession, but he averages 30 in four Tests and has not made a fifty since his staunch debut against India in Nagpur. He is undoubtedly a player for the future, but as yet he is a batsman of limited range and, as he blocked like a good 'un in England's backs-to-the-wall draw in Auckland, his range was restricting by the minute.

Without Morgan, unless Ravi Bopara suddenly returns to prominence, England will attempt to retain the Ashes with four defensive batsmen in the top six - Alastair Cook, Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root. It is to be hoped that Ian Bell does not go into his shell or England's batting, although potentially remorseless, will find it hard to seize the initiative. The danger is that they could allow Australia to bowl to them.

Knowing Morgan, he will fancy he can find an unorthodox route into the Ashes. A successful IPL followed by a triumphant Champions Trophy would be a start - as would be a deepening of England's uncertainty about who should bat at No. 6 when they face New Zealand in the two May Tests. There would be a precedent for him guesting for Somerset against Australia in a pre-Trent Bridge warm-up and, assuming he misses out at Trent Bridge, he has time to face Warwickshire at Uxbridge before the second Ashes Test.

It sounds too much like the best of both worlds. It would be a high-wire act audacious enough to impress Philippe Petit. It might well come to naught. But do not assume that Eoin Morgan has not already considered the percentages.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • jimbond on April 3, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    I would say that Morgan's decision is very rational (and as the author says- coming from a 'clinical mind'). He has chosen to have the bird in hand as compared to the ephemeral birds in the bush. Morgan is a professional cricketer, and there is a lot of money in the IPL, and while he is far from being a certainty in the English test team, he is one among few Englishmen to have an IPL contract. He is obviously right in making the best out of a bad situation; who knows, a couple of good performances in the IPL may help him regain some form.

  • whoster on April 2, 2013, 21:42 GMT

    I don't blame Morgan for his IPL decision, and I don't think it'll either hinder or help his chances for The Ashes. The no.6 spot has been England's biggest headache since Collingwood retired. With Cook, Compton and Trott as the top 3, England need a player who's capable of raising the tempo along with KP and Bell. I don't think either Root or Bairstow are making a strong case at the moment; both have done well to a degree, but they're young and don't look quite ready. No doubt Root will play the NZ home Tests, but if he struggles, there may be an argument in going for Morgan's experience and big-match temperament. Bopara is surely out of the running, as is Taylor. If the no.6 spot still isn't settled after the NZ series, Morgan could have a case. Yes, his batting is more suited to the one-day formats, but he's the type of player who, on his day, can make a lot of quick runs. This England side is short on flair, and Morgan should certainly be considered for The Ashes.

  • Aussiesfalling on April 2, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    @DavidHopps Nice piece, very Guardianesque. I've read elsewhere concerns about England's dour top order potentially allowing the Aussie bowlers to bowl at them. I was very worried about such a possibility out in India where it is arguably more important to get a positive start. Yet I was wrong, and Cook, Compton and Trott proved me wrong by regularly building a platform and the likes of KP and Prior demonstrated that England could always catch up with the game. If Morgan gets back into the Test side this summer, I hope it is because he has been scoring 1st class runs not because the selectors think they need an extra batter comfortable with pressing the accelerator early on.

  • squarepeg on April 7, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    Morgan promises a lot, but has not yet delivered consistently enough to be even close to KP in impact. He knows this, and is doing what is best for him- if I can't make enough runs for England, let me then make enough money for myself.

  • JG2704 on April 4, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    @Georgerarnold on (April 4, 2013, 8:40 GMT) To be fair he's done little to help himself. Yes Bell and KP even were worse than Morgan in UAE but I suppose they went on past form a little and Morgan never has had a run of decent form in the longer formats. On being dropped after UAE , EM made the right noises but all he did last season was play a handful of games for Middx and had a paid holiday in India. It was hardly the actions of a player hungry to get back in the Eng set up

  • Georgerarnold on April 4, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    I've been feeling a bit sorry for Morgan recently. During the last ashes, while Paul Collingwood was fading out of the England side, Morgan was in the touch of his life but carrying the drinks. He had 1 bad series in Pakistan (just as bad as pretty much the whole England team *Ian Bell*) and he's toast. The amount of time England persisted with people like Owais Shah or Bopara makes me feel like there's a mischief happening here. Cricket need entertaining players like Morgan, give the boy a run.

  • jmcilhinney on April 4, 2013, 4:40 GMT

    @o-bomb on (April 3, 2013, 14:57 GMT), "I doubt I'd have him as high as 3rd in the pecking order.": The fact that he was picked for the India tour suggests that he's still well up the list but I think that he may well have been there as much for his experience in India as anything else. "It's a couple of months away still, but there will be players scoring runs in the county championship by then. Unless they're clearly not right for the test arena I would select someone from that category ahead of someone who isn't playing first class cricket.": Exactly, which is why Morgan should play first class cricket rather than the IPL if he wants his prospects of a Test place to improve or even not worsen. If he was playing first class cricket and doing well then he would still be in contention but I see him dropping further down the pecking order if he doesn't prioritise first class cricket.

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2013, 17:02 GMT

    @Junaid Dawjee on (April 3, 2013, 9:42 GMT) Morgan has been very hit and miss for Eng for a while - possibly like a lesser KP. The facts are that if someone else - whether it be Jonny,Root,Woakes , Taylor or whoever does well in the 4 day game it automatically will put them ahead of Morgan. Listen , I don't begrudge him of the money/adulation at all and unless he gets injured I see him as nailed on for our shorter formats - even though guys like Wright and Hales are knocking hard on the OD door. However I don't see a good run in the IPL/Champions trophy etc doing him any favours re getting into the test side and neither should it. You wouldn't put guys like Trott , Compton or Cook in the T20 side after showing a run of form in the test side just like you wouldn't put the likes of Wright/Jos and Hales in the test side because they've knocked up some quickfire 50s in T20s

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    @IndiaNumeroUno on (April 3, 2013, 9:16 GMT) I thought Wright and Dimitri were both from England and both in IPL franchises the last time I looked but congratulations on another piece of inspirational wit and wisdom in words there.

    @Ennigmaa on (April 3, 2013, 10:59 GMT) This article isn't bigging up/hyping anyone so what's the point in your comment?

  • o-bomb on April 3, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - I doubt I'd have him as high as 3rd in the pecking order. Even if Root and Bairstow got injured I would explore other options before Morgan. It's a couple of months away still, but there will be players scoring runs in the county championship by then. Unless they're clearly not right for the test arena I would select someone from that category ahead of someone who isn't playing first class cricket. Either way as much as Morgan says he wants to play test cricket, those words don't mean much if he keeps going to the IPL. As you quite rightly point out though - that is his priority and nobody should hold that against him.

  • jimbond on April 3, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    I would say that Morgan's decision is very rational (and as the author says- coming from a 'clinical mind'). He has chosen to have the bird in hand as compared to the ephemeral birds in the bush. Morgan is a professional cricketer, and there is a lot of money in the IPL, and while he is far from being a certainty in the English test team, he is one among few Englishmen to have an IPL contract. He is obviously right in making the best out of a bad situation; who knows, a couple of good performances in the IPL may help him regain some form.

  • whoster on April 2, 2013, 21:42 GMT

    I don't blame Morgan for his IPL decision, and I don't think it'll either hinder or help his chances for The Ashes. The no.6 spot has been England's biggest headache since Collingwood retired. With Cook, Compton and Trott as the top 3, England need a player who's capable of raising the tempo along with KP and Bell. I don't think either Root or Bairstow are making a strong case at the moment; both have done well to a degree, but they're young and don't look quite ready. No doubt Root will play the NZ home Tests, but if he struggles, there may be an argument in going for Morgan's experience and big-match temperament. Bopara is surely out of the running, as is Taylor. If the no.6 spot still isn't settled after the NZ series, Morgan could have a case. Yes, his batting is more suited to the one-day formats, but he's the type of player who, on his day, can make a lot of quick runs. This England side is short on flair, and Morgan should certainly be considered for The Ashes.

  • Aussiesfalling on April 2, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    @DavidHopps Nice piece, very Guardianesque. I've read elsewhere concerns about England's dour top order potentially allowing the Aussie bowlers to bowl at them. I was very worried about such a possibility out in India where it is arguably more important to get a positive start. Yet I was wrong, and Cook, Compton and Trott proved me wrong by regularly building a platform and the likes of KP and Prior demonstrated that England could always catch up with the game. If Morgan gets back into the Test side this summer, I hope it is because he has been scoring 1st class runs not because the selectors think they need an extra batter comfortable with pressing the accelerator early on.

  • squarepeg on April 7, 2013, 11:21 GMT

    Morgan promises a lot, but has not yet delivered consistently enough to be even close to KP in impact. He knows this, and is doing what is best for him- if I can't make enough runs for England, let me then make enough money for myself.

  • JG2704 on April 4, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    @Georgerarnold on (April 4, 2013, 8:40 GMT) To be fair he's done little to help himself. Yes Bell and KP even were worse than Morgan in UAE but I suppose they went on past form a little and Morgan never has had a run of decent form in the longer formats. On being dropped after UAE , EM made the right noises but all he did last season was play a handful of games for Middx and had a paid holiday in India. It was hardly the actions of a player hungry to get back in the Eng set up

  • Georgerarnold on April 4, 2013, 8:40 GMT

    I've been feeling a bit sorry for Morgan recently. During the last ashes, while Paul Collingwood was fading out of the England side, Morgan was in the touch of his life but carrying the drinks. He had 1 bad series in Pakistan (just as bad as pretty much the whole England team *Ian Bell*) and he's toast. The amount of time England persisted with people like Owais Shah or Bopara makes me feel like there's a mischief happening here. Cricket need entertaining players like Morgan, give the boy a run.

  • jmcilhinney on April 4, 2013, 4:40 GMT

    @o-bomb on (April 3, 2013, 14:57 GMT), "I doubt I'd have him as high as 3rd in the pecking order.": The fact that he was picked for the India tour suggests that he's still well up the list but I think that he may well have been there as much for his experience in India as anything else. "It's a couple of months away still, but there will be players scoring runs in the county championship by then. Unless they're clearly not right for the test arena I would select someone from that category ahead of someone who isn't playing first class cricket.": Exactly, which is why Morgan should play first class cricket rather than the IPL if he wants his prospects of a Test place to improve or even not worsen. If he was playing first class cricket and doing well then he would still be in contention but I see him dropping further down the pecking order if he doesn't prioritise first class cricket.

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2013, 17:02 GMT

    @Junaid Dawjee on (April 3, 2013, 9:42 GMT) Morgan has been very hit and miss for Eng for a while - possibly like a lesser KP. The facts are that if someone else - whether it be Jonny,Root,Woakes , Taylor or whoever does well in the 4 day game it automatically will put them ahead of Morgan. Listen , I don't begrudge him of the money/adulation at all and unless he gets injured I see him as nailed on for our shorter formats - even though guys like Wright and Hales are knocking hard on the OD door. However I don't see a good run in the IPL/Champions trophy etc doing him any favours re getting into the test side and neither should it. You wouldn't put guys like Trott , Compton or Cook in the T20 side after showing a run of form in the test side just like you wouldn't put the likes of Wright/Jos and Hales in the test side because they've knocked up some quickfire 50s in T20s

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2013, 17:01 GMT

    @IndiaNumeroUno on (April 3, 2013, 9:16 GMT) I thought Wright and Dimitri were both from England and both in IPL franchises the last time I looked but congratulations on another piece of inspirational wit and wisdom in words there.

    @Ennigmaa on (April 3, 2013, 10:59 GMT) This article isn't bigging up/hyping anyone so what's the point in your comment?

  • o-bomb on April 3, 2013, 14:57 GMT

    @jmcilhinney - I doubt I'd have him as high as 3rd in the pecking order. Even if Root and Bairstow got injured I would explore other options before Morgan. It's a couple of months away still, but there will be players scoring runs in the county championship by then. Unless they're clearly not right for the test arena I would select someone from that category ahead of someone who isn't playing first class cricket. Either way as much as Morgan says he wants to play test cricket, those words don't mean much if he keeps going to the IPL. As you quite rightly point out though - that is his priority and nobody should hold that against him.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on April 3, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    Morgan should never be in contention for tests. He is a short-format specialist IMO. England should not make the same mistakes as Australia and consider short-format specialists like Warner and Hughes for tests. Why worry about a series that you're never realistically going to be picked for? Horses for courses please David.

  • jackthelad on April 3, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    We seem all to be in agreement that Morgan (or at least his agent) has an exceedingly shrewd financial mind. Looked at from this angle, his brief and inconclusive flirtation with an England shirt has done its job - given him sufficient exposure and prominence to be a big fish in the IPL auctions; Kevin Pietersen has had the same logic in his chequered career - but he, of course, is ten times the batsman Morgan could even dream of being.

  • jmcilhinney on April 3, 2013, 14:11 GMT

    I must stress that I have no issue with Morgan choosing to play IPL. If that's what he wants to do then good luck to him. I don;t see him as the best option for Test cricket anyway but, from his point of view, if he wants to get back into contention then he is doing himself no favours. It's all about priorities. If the IPL is his priority then that's fine but if Test cricket is his priority then he's got to commit himself to it. He may still not make it but that's the risk you take and he apparently is not prepared to take that risk.

  • jmcilhinney on April 3, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    @o-bomb on (April 3, 2013, 12:36 GMT), I agree for the most part. Morgan would have to be at least third choice for the #6 spot for the Ashes and probably lower but he has to play some first class cricket to climb back up the pecking order so, if he wants to get back into the Test team any time in the future, he has to start focusing on improving that first class record. Also, if Root and Bairstow were injured or otherwise ruled out then he might come into contention if he had recent first class form, which he won;t have if he plays IPL.

  • abhilash.medhi on April 3, 2013, 13:52 GMT

    This is someone that gave up playing for Ireland to be able to play more international cricket. If that was a rational decision--which it clearly was--I fail to see how this isn't. Of course, there is no clear divide between rational and irrational, and often their definitions are context-specific.

  • on April 3, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    I have seen Morgan play the IPL a few times before in a few matches and i just saw him struggle against the slow, lifeless pitch. I can't see him doing any better in this years IPL either. He is probably doing this for the money however it is a Ashes year. What does he lose if he misses the IPL for one year to play First class cricket and make a case to join the team for Trent bridge and go to the IPL next year and earn his money. Money is attracting greed and soon the IPL will be out of money, that is when Test cricket shall regain its rightful place which is overshadowed by the greed of the IPL. I'm 13 and i love test cricket. I would go to play test cricket more than the IPL. I don't understand why players are abandoning their country for the greed of the money.

  • o-bomb on April 3, 2013, 12:36 GMT

    I would argue that it is not Morgan's decision to go to the IPL that will hinder his chances of being selected for the Ashes. I would argue that his woeful form for Middlesex last season coupled with the fact that he has struggled when he has played test cricket should place him well away from the England test team. The fact that he has chosen to play very little first class cricket before the Ashes doesn't do him any favours, but surely his performances when he has played first class cricket should be the first consideration. Those performances have not been good enough to warrant a place in the test side.

  • Ennigmaa on April 3, 2013, 10:59 GMT

    Love the way these English writers narrate, build such hype and aura around their players. And most of them somehow live upto it..like Cook, KP to name a few. Class!

  • on April 3, 2013, 9:42 GMT

    @JG2704 on (April 3, 2013, 8:56 GMT) Morgans been suffering from a lack of form of late and the ipl is a large enough platform to propel him back into form and contention especially in the champins trophy. I dont think he has much chance in the NZ series given the return of KP and the all time great Root having secured their spots. If he does well in the ipl, he will get a chanpions trophy spot and if he does well in CT he will get a test call up. Problem solved.

  • IndiaNumeroUno on April 3, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    It's good not to see any English players in the IPL...waste of money. Great to see talented Irish and Welsh cricketers playing!

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2013, 9:10 GMT

    Back to the number 6 spot. Why not try Woakes at 7 with Prior at 6?

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2013, 8:56 GMT

    @the_blue_android on (April 2, 2013, 21:49 GMT) He is indeed a smart guy financially as I guess he'll get paid the megabucks whether he plays the full IPL or is benched the whole time as in last year. But if he is that serious about playing test cricket for England then he can't feel he's being badly treated if he has done little to improve his shoddy domestic/test record . Listen , re Morgan - IMO , it's not just an IPL thing. He played very few 1st class games last year for Middlesex even when he wasn't warming the bench in last years IPL so he's hardly knocking hard on the door anyway

    @Junaid Dawjee on (April 2, 2013, 23:53 GMT) If he's doing well in a T20 format it has little influence on how he's likely to do in the test form of the game

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2013, 8:55 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster - ctd - No one's saying Morgan shouldn't do IPL but in his case , he probably would have been better off not signing a central contract as his Eng ambitions appear to be for the shorter formats and he's hardly been a consistent part of his county side - with or without IPL

    As far as I'm aware there was no force involved in making him (or any other player) sign the central contract. Also , you're preaching about the ECB being small minded. I don't recall any Indian players being involved in the Big Bash (which coincidentally clashes with the Indian season). Why would that be? I don't know the reason why Pak players don't play IPL but whoever put the brakes on not selecting their players - whether it be PCB or BCCI - should they not be lambasted the same way ECB has been?

  • JG2704 on April 3, 2013, 8:41 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster -

    Listen I have not slated IPL here or on other threads. Let me put it in simpler terms for you re Morgan.

    If there was a batting place in the Indian test side up for grabs and you have 2 or 3 players doing well in your domestic league and one player has gone over to do the Big Bash , the latter - no matter how well he does in BB - is unlikely to make much impact on the selectors is he.

    1 - It's miles away from where the selectors are focussing their attentions 2 - It's a totally different format

    The pure reason why Eng teams have any sort of issue with IPL is because it clashes with our domestic season. Remember last year the Aus test players missed the start of IPL due to a test series being played - so why do the Aus board not come under fire? Do you think Aus CB would be any different if IPL was in the middle of their season? Or if SA were playing a test series which clashed with IPL their board would release the likes of AB and Steyn etc?

  • Rahul_78 on April 3, 2013, 8:31 GMT

    I think Morgan has been honest in his comments and commitments. What is a bloke suppose to do when his biggest pay day of the year is staring at him in the face? He is undoubtedly on the fringes of Englands test XI. England will be playing 10 back to back tests and there would be definite injuries and / or loss of form among top 6 batsmen. He will get his chance weather or not he goes for IPL. Besides Mr.Hopps is right in pointing out that England doesnt have unorthodox attacking batsmen apart from KP in their top 6. It is up to English selectors to decide on Morgan. At the moment the man in question is doing what is right and that is securing his financial future.

  • jmcilhinney on April 3, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (April 3, 2013, 6:47 GMT), to be clear, I have no issue with the IPL whatsoever. I don't watch it but I don't really watch the BBL either and I live in Australia. I think that T20 is good for cricket because it brings in a lot of money that cricket might die without. I think that T20 is bad for cricket because it helps to erode traditional cricket skills. Neither of these apply to the IPL any more than any other T20 cricket, but the money available in the IPL is undoubtedly one of the main drivers behind T20 worldwide. I'm quite happy for the IPL to go on its merry way but I am not happy at all if the IPL, or any other domestic competition, has a detrimental effect on English cricket by taking players away from county or England duties. What is unreasonable about that? If the BCCI moved the IPL schedule then it might not be an issue for anybody. Will they do that, for the sake of cricket worldwide as a whole, or is the effect the IPL has on others not their concern?

  • jmcilhinney on April 3, 2013, 8:12 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (April 3, 2013, 6:47 GMT), the ECB is not trying to rob anyone of anything. All the ECB has said is that its contracted players must be available to play any and all games for England. Is that really so unreasonable? Correct me if I'm wrong but the BCCI doesn't let Indian players play any T20 other than the IPL. It sounds like the BCCI is the more restrictive in that regard. Seriously, do you really think that the BCCI would be happy for players to miss games for India to play in some other country's domestic competition? What English counties do is not up to the ECB but, again, do they not have a right to insist that the players who they developed and are contracted to them play games for them? Counties are struggling financially already so losing games while star players are in India is just ridiculous. England have a short season as it is and have basically no wiggle room. If the IPL wasn't scheduled on top of the English season then there'd be no issue.

  • jmcilhinney on April 3, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (April 3, 2013, 0:44 GMT), I may be too late to catch some of the flaming replies to that comment but I misspoke when I said "the Ashes is the most important thing in cricket and that's that". I actually meant to say "the Ashes is the most important thing in ENGLISH cricket and that's that". I don't expect the Ashes to be any more important to anyone outside of England and Australia than any other neutral Test series but it is to us so if that's a problem for you then just don't read stories about it.

  • Tom_Bowler on April 3, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    Morgan's chances of making the Test side are currently slimmer than those of Ravi Bop which are practically non-existent after his sad meltdown last year . It is reasonable to assume that not only are Root and Bairstow in front of them but Taylor as well. Morgan is an astonishing limited overs player and the potential for him to come in at five or six in Tests and put the opposition out of the game in a session and a half is obvious. The only problem is he has been previously picked for the Test side on limited overs form and potential and been found wanting. His only route back would be to demonstrate a vast improvement in his four day batting with Middlesex, even then he would need to hope that others fail. It's a long shot so he is very reasonably playing IPL, sharpening his short game even further and earning a load of cash. No English people will see him however, ITV4's 13 viewers generally switch off when the reruns of Trisha and Loose Women finish.

  • on April 3, 2013, 7:13 GMT

    Great move for Morgan. It allows him to get used to sub-Continent conditions, improve his T20 skills whilst earning a fortune. Good luck.

  • Cpt.Meanster on April 3, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    @JG2704 and jmcilhinney: Well, you see.. both of you exhibit the precise issues English folk have with the IPL. Every year England have some problem or the other with the IPL. There will ALWAYS be an English man who says that he loves test cricket and yearns for a place in the first XI. Nobody is going to be able to stop that. But the fact is that the ECB is trying to rob English players from the opportunity to experience something special and unique by putting them in a tough space with regards to playing in the IPL while every nation on earth is allowing its players to play IF they get picked in the auctions. Sadly, Pakistan isn't included as of now but we hope that will change in the future. Coming to the point, England have an issue with the IPL. It's time they openly admit it and be honest with their players. Cause as long as the ECB maintains its stance, it will be tough for talented English players to be picked up in auctions.

  • on April 3, 2013, 5:54 GMT

    Morgan hasn't exactly cemented his place at #6 thus far so the only way back into the test team is to score a stack of runs for your county. So, to go to the IPL, earn a mint for sitting on your backside watching others play...and then claim you're learning a lot and that you want to get back into the test team doesn't sound much like the cold calculating brain David writes about in the article.

  • the_blue_android on April 3, 2013, 2:20 GMT

    Morgan leaves England hanging? You got your title the other way around Hopps.

  • jmcilhinney on April 3, 2013, 0:53 GMT

    @torsha on (April 2, 2013, 17:33 GMT), he was selected for the India tour. It even says so in the story: "he was selected for the Test tour of India before Christmas". Maybe less whining and more reading is in order. He is on the fringes of the Test squad, no doubt. There are others ahead of him but he is still in the reckoning. The fact that he is hurting his chances of getting back into that team is obviously relevant to an England cricket fan.

  • jmcilhinney on April 3, 2013, 0:48 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (April 2, 2013, 17:48 GMT), whether or not Morgan plays IPL is 100% irrelevant to whether or not he makes England's Champions Trophy team. He is an absolute nailed-on certainty to be in that team so there's no need for him to be brought back into the reckoning. What might change is whether he gets back into the Test team but, to do that, he needs to show something real in first-class cricket, which he cannot do if he's playing IPL. I have no issue with his playing IPL if that's what he wants and doing so may even help improve him as a limited-overs batsman. What it cannot possibly do is help his chances of getting back into the England Test team. That's what this story is about so, if you're not interested in that, you're wasting your time reading the story in the first place and definitely wasting our time commenting on it.

  • jmcilhinney on April 3, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    Why are non-England fans whining about this story? The England international winter is over and the home season is yet to start. What exactly do you expect English cricket writers to write about? Whether you understand, or care to understand, or not, the Ashes is the most important thing in cricket and that's that. If you aren't interested then don't read the stories. Morgan is a talented player on the fringes of the Test squad. Who gets into the Test squad is of great importance to England cricket fans so a story about Morgan's decision to play IPL is highly relevant because it could be what keeps him out of that team.

  • on April 2, 2013, 23:53 GMT

    why choose...if hes doing well england will choose him irrespective...isnt that how it works

  • the_blue_android on April 2, 2013, 21:49 GMT

    He well knew that he would not be selected for Ashes. Smart guy. He made the right move. English media as usual makes a mountain of a molehill.

  • Hardy1 on April 2, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    No need to read too much into his claims that he prefers Test cricket. Yes he would rather hit the winning runs in an Ashes series than in the IPL final probably but clearly he prefers short form cricket & is better at it. If he had been honest & said "no I'd rather play in the IPL", the media would've been tearing him apart for it (not to mention the more important issue of where he would stand with the ECB in that case, especially as it would probably be a breech of media rules) & so he did what most others would have in that situation.

  • Hardy1 on April 2, 2013, 21:00 GMT

    I can't help but think he's made the right choice considering he doesn't have a great first class record, has been out of favour for a while & had a terrible last season, especially when he could be securing his pension fund & partying at the same time in the IPL with the rest of the cricketing world. But hey harder work for less reward in cold England where half the matches will probably be rained off would be much preferable to that, right?

    OK he didn't get a game last year, which was a shame but he should have a better chance this year & ultimately I think good form in the IPL would actually help him more than another poor county season, even in Test cricket, just 'cos of the confidence it would give him. I agree that Ashes glory would trump IPL but everything considered, how many people would honestly not go for the IPL if they were in the same situation?

  • JG2704 on April 2, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    Have to agree with mrpfister on (April 2, 2013, 16:24 GMT) re Morgan. A talent , no doubt but my theory is that England gave him a central contract because at the time they thought there was no way back with KP and Morgan was the nearest to KP in terms of flair etc. My thoughts right now are that they are having second thoughts re Morgan as a test player and as has already been said Morgan is hardly backing up his words with his actions. The number 6 position still looks up for grabs to me and if Root,Bopara,Jonny,Taylor and whoever else make an impressive start to the season then it will surely automatically put them ahead of Morgan. A few destructive T20 inns (if he plays much as he was benched last IPL) will unlikely help him into the Ashes set up. Fair play to him for earning the money but (esp as a non established player) he can't have it both ways

  • JG2704 on April 2, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    @Charlie101 on (April 2, 2013, 16:42 GMT) Ravi did enter the auction at a base price of $100k and went unsold as did Prior and as did Swann and Jimmy the previous year. Not sure what the deal is whether you get paid more for playing more games...

    @InsideHedge on (April 2, 2013, 16:45 GMT) In Morgan's case I agree. Despite what he says he obviously prefers the shorter formats anyway

    @maximum6 on (April 2, 2013, 17:56 GMT) TBH , I think he'll continue to be picked for our shorter formats unless his Eng form drastically backfires. To me he's like a star amateur boxer who has all the tools to go to the top but won't do the extra roadwork/fitness work

  • GeoffreysMother on April 2, 2013, 18:18 GMT

    Lovely article - humorous yet incisive. Mrpfister hits the nail on the head with regard to Morgan. He will of course play in the Champions League. David is also right about the Root/Bairstow conundrum - Bairstow's attacking ability gives the team better balance - but he didn't really back up his Lord's performance this winter. Mind you I can't remember Root coming in too many times when it wasn't 'backs to the wall'. Bairstow's and Root's early form in England will be watched much more than Morgan's in the IPL.

  • king78787 on April 2, 2013, 18:10 GMT

    Why is cook labelled as slow?Patient is the wor. During the new zealand series in almost every innings he was batting for a draw. Trott is not misbah slow but is not fast and root hit big several time sin the ODI's. comnpton is the only slow batsmen.

  • 2.14istherunrate on April 2, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    ............If he plays for KKR then that will be an improvement on last year,but only in t20.I would suggest his ODI place is far from certain let alone his Test place. He averaged 18 for MIddx in what he did play.They may decide to let him go,. I would say he plays a very dangerous game with his England place and needs to address this by playing 1st class cricket from early May just to show he gives a damn-words being a hollow gesture. To be honest he should have played all April too. It's a pity because he does have a following here, and talent.

  • 2.14istherunrate on April 2, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    Certainly you are right when you point out that England may be fielding 4 defensive players in the top six. It is too many, and whatever claims are made about this attack it is not a fat lot more terrifying than the batting. So James Pattinson can bowl a bit-no argument,but Siddle is a willing journeyman with heart,Starc is okay but hardly a world beater. Of the others if Hilfenhaus makes the tour he may do well like in 2009,but he has not kept to those heights, and Johnson is always a gzamble, while these 18 year olds who win plaudits are just too green and untrained to worry about.Lyon the spinner is respectable, no more,but the other spinners are a joke. Against these bowlers it is highly unlikely the English batting will be too tested and at some point flair and inventiveness is going to be needed in spades. At this point then the 6 position must be wide open and Morgan should be a contender. Yet he does nothing to compete for it. Money comes firsr,his adopted country second.

  • torsha on April 2, 2013, 17:33 GMT

    He wasn't selected for India and NZ tour and now talking about selecting him for Ashes. Really? Whenever he plays for IPL, this topic comes again and again. Last time was the same too.

  • Kula_Bowls_Inswing on April 2, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    I reckon in Ireland they know how good he is, as well as in England.

  • ladycricfan on April 2, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    Morgan is a limited over specialist.

  • InsideHedge on April 2, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    He's still an important player in limited over cricket for England, and therefore has many games coming up. Often, impressive performances in the shorter format help to get selected for the 5 day game. Besides, many aspire to play Tests, but they soon fall by the wayside, very few are good enough to have a long career.

    Better to be a player who won trophies in the shorter format (at intl level) than one who played 10 Tests and did little else.

  • Charlie101 on April 2, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    With the 2 young bloods ( Root and Bairstow ) ahead I am surprised that Ravi has not also entered the IPL auction as it will take 2 injuries for either of them to play in the Ashes . A good decision by Morgan - I just hope he gets enough games this year in the IPL

  • liaqathussain on April 2, 2013, 16:27 GMT

    Well in this case i don't see Morgan returning earlier to play against NZ i think him opting for ipl will put him more away from the selector's mind then ever, We live in fast times where its all about the buck and how much you can make in how little time, IPl almost guarantee's that you will live a good life after cricket even if you never make it to the highest level, It serously about time ECB start their own version of the ipl t20 league, yes they have a t20 competition but it needs serious revamping, If properly managed and run it could be hugh

  • mrpfister on April 2, 2013, 16:24 GMT

    Just as the only ones talking about the death of test cricket are the media, so too are they the only people talking about Eoin Morgan as a test cricketer. Since he was (rightly) dropped from the test team, he's spoken about his desire to reclaim his place and play at the highest level once more. Curiously, he is yet to back up those words with any actions. In the last two years, Morgan has played five County Championship matches, scoring 109 runs at an average of 18. His career first-class stats are less than impressive (Ave. 34.5). He has no pedigree or form. He will, as you say Mr. Hopps, have at most 2 innings before the Ashes starts. Having been fast-tracked into the team on the back of some impressive one-day performances, he was found out to be technically deficient in defense. He has done nothing to indicate he has improved. He's happy to take the central contract money, but shows little commitment to England. For that reason, he should be a very long way from the test team.

  • mrpfister on April 2, 2013, 16:24 GMT

    Just as the only ones talking about the death of test cricket are the media, so too are they the only people talking about Eoin Morgan as a test cricketer. Since he was (rightly) dropped from the test team, he's spoken about his desire to reclaim his place and play at the highest level once more. Curiously, he is yet to back up those words with any actions. In the last two years, Morgan has played five County Championship matches, scoring 109 runs at an average of 18. His career first-class stats are less than impressive (Ave. 34.5). He has no pedigree or form. He will, as you say Mr. Hopps, have at most 2 innings before the Ashes starts. Having been fast-tracked into the team on the back of some impressive one-day performances, he was found out to be technically deficient in defense. He has done nothing to indicate he has improved. He's happy to take the central contract money, but shows little commitment to England. For that reason, he should be a very long way from the test team.

  • liaqathussain on April 2, 2013, 16:27 GMT

    Well in this case i don't see Morgan returning earlier to play against NZ i think him opting for ipl will put him more away from the selector's mind then ever, We live in fast times where its all about the buck and how much you can make in how little time, IPl almost guarantee's that you will live a good life after cricket even if you never make it to the highest level, It serously about time ECB start their own version of the ipl t20 league, yes they have a t20 competition but it needs serious revamping, If properly managed and run it could be hugh

  • Charlie101 on April 2, 2013, 16:42 GMT

    With the 2 young bloods ( Root and Bairstow ) ahead I am surprised that Ravi has not also entered the IPL auction as it will take 2 injuries for either of them to play in the Ashes . A good decision by Morgan - I just hope he gets enough games this year in the IPL

  • InsideHedge on April 2, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    He's still an important player in limited over cricket for England, and therefore has many games coming up. Often, impressive performances in the shorter format help to get selected for the 5 day game. Besides, many aspire to play Tests, but they soon fall by the wayside, very few are good enough to have a long career.

    Better to be a player who won trophies in the shorter format (at intl level) than one who played 10 Tests and did little else.

  • ladycricfan on April 2, 2013, 16:45 GMT

    Morgan is a limited over specialist.

  • Kula_Bowls_Inswing on April 2, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    I reckon in Ireland they know how good he is, as well as in England.

  • torsha on April 2, 2013, 17:33 GMT

    He wasn't selected for India and NZ tour and now talking about selecting him for Ashes. Really? Whenever he plays for IPL, this topic comes again and again. Last time was the same too.

  • 2.14istherunrate on April 2, 2013, 17:48 GMT

    Certainly you are right when you point out that England may be fielding 4 defensive players in the top six. It is too many, and whatever claims are made about this attack it is not a fat lot more terrifying than the batting. So James Pattinson can bowl a bit-no argument,but Siddle is a willing journeyman with heart,Starc is okay but hardly a world beater. Of the others if Hilfenhaus makes the tour he may do well like in 2009,but he has not kept to those heights, and Johnson is always a gzamble, while these 18 year olds who win plaudits are just too green and untrained to worry about.Lyon the spinner is respectable, no more,but the other spinners are a joke. Against these bowlers it is highly unlikely the English batting will be too tested and at some point flair and inventiveness is going to be needed in spades. At this point then the 6 position must be wide open and Morgan should be a contender. Yet he does nothing to compete for it. Money comes firsr,his adopted country second.

  • 2.14istherunrate on April 2, 2013, 17:56 GMT

    ............If he plays for KKR then that will be an improvement on last year,but only in t20.I would suggest his ODI place is far from certain let alone his Test place. He averaged 18 for MIddx in what he did play.They may decide to let him go,. I would say he plays a very dangerous game with his England place and needs to address this by playing 1st class cricket from early May just to show he gives a damn-words being a hollow gesture. To be honest he should have played all April too. It's a pity because he does have a following here, and talent.

  • king78787 on April 2, 2013, 18:10 GMT

    Why is cook labelled as slow?Patient is the wor. During the new zealand series in almost every innings he was batting for a draw. Trott is not misbah slow but is not fast and root hit big several time sin the ODI's. comnpton is the only slow batsmen.