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February 28, 2012
Eoin Morgan's bosses at international and county level have warned him of the difficult task he faces to recapture his place in the Test side after being dropped for the tour of Sri Lanka.
Morgan was the one casualty from England's batting problems during the Test series against Pakistan with his place in the 16-man squad being taken by Samit Patel. He made 82 runs in the three Tests and a total of just 180 runs in 13 international innings during the whole tour of the UAE as he failed to return to form in his favoured ODI and Twenty20 formats.
Although the English domestic season starts in a little over a month's time, Morgan is unlikely to be seen in Middlesex colours until the end of May as he will be playing for Kolkata Knight Riders at the IPL. Morgan has a long-standing contract to play in the tournament - something he did before earning a Test recall last year to replace the retired Paul Collingwood - but Andy Flower, the England team director, made it clear that it gives Morgan a tougher route back.
"He has got some work to do I think on his Test game and that's going to be quite difficult for him considering his next cricket is going to be IPL cricket," Flower said. "When he comes back he'll have limited exposure to opportunities to get four-day cricket under his belt so he has got to go away and give some serious thought to his method in Test cricket."
Angus Fraser, the managing director of cricket at Middlesex, is not expecting any late change of heart from Morgan regarding the IPL and acknowledges that this is the first significant slump that he has had to overcome during his career.
"It's a new situation for Eoin, his career has been on an upward curve since he came into the England side and this is the first time he's had to go back and look at things," Fraser told ESPNcricinfo. "The way to improve your red-ball cricket, as it's termed these days, is to play it.
"But Eoin has a contract with the IPL and these contracts are pretty water-tight. They are attractive to the players in many ways and I think he'll be playing in the IPL. All the others issues are hypothetical, I don't see Eoin not playing in the IPL during April and May."
Morgan wasn't the only England batsman to struggle during the Tests - no one averaged more than Matt Prior's 37.50 and the best from the top six was Jonathan Trott's 26.83 - but Kevin Pietersen recovered with back-to-back hundreds in the one-day series, plus a series-winning contribution in the final Twenty20, while faith has been shown in Ian Bell following his prolific 2011.
"The figures suggest he struggled in the Test in UAE," Fraser said of Morgan. "He wasn't alone in that, a number of England batsmen struggled with high-quality spin bowling. But Eoin has to go away like any other player dropped from a side and have a look at where he is at and see whether he needs to make any changes. I don't think he's in a different position to anyone else who is dropped. If you need changes you make them, if you don't you carry on and hope your form improves."
Edited by Alan Gardner
Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Andrew McGlashan
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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