England in Sri Lanka 2011-12 February 28, 2012

'A new situation for Eoin' - Fraser


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 ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roo on March 1, 2012, 7:55 GMT

    Batters get found out quickly in Test cricket & bowling attacks work on your every weakness - Morgan has a number of defensive & attacking frailties plus poor shot selection in Test cricket... Morgans IPL record isn't crash hot either - 13 IPL innings @14 - yeah really loves playing in the subcontinent... aka why he was dropped after UAE tour & before SL tour...

  • Roo on March 1, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    @satish619chandar... Morgan was the only Eng batsman who failed to fill his boots against India in the Test series - India had probably the weakest bowling attack that nthn summer that Eng has faced since the last SA tour there... Even Dhoni had to bowl in that series...

  • Dummy4 on February 29, 2012, 23:21 GMT

    Mr Reddy, this is better than poaching from SA?

  • Shanmugam on February 29, 2012, 21:48 GMT

    I am glad England retained Bell. It has been a while since Bell failed in an entire series like he did in the UAE. Bell was clueless whole series but one bad series doesn't make him a bad player. I expect him to come back strongly. However, why did they choose to include Bopara? Bopara hasn't really impressed at test level and last time he was in SL, he failed miserably (he got a pair in one of the tests, if I remember correctly). England should look at new batting talents and groom them. Hopefully, they will do it in the summer series against the Windies.

  • Shanmugam on February 29, 2012, 21:45 GMT

    Morgan is a gifted limited-overs batsman but not quite good at test level. In a way, the thrashing in the tests was good as it has made the England management to rethink their strategy - two spinners are a must in the sub-continent and England would do well to play 5 batsmen, Prior, 2 spinners and 3 seamers in SL. I realize that it is our batting that failed in the UAE and dropping a batsman for a bowler may make no sense but there is a reason: 1) Conditions in SL are quite different to the ones England faced in the UAE, 2) SL's spinners, while very good, are not quite in the same class as Ajmal; so, I back our top 5 batsmen (and Prior) to counter them better than they did Ajmal and Rehman, 3) SL's batsmen are better than Pakistan's; so, we need more variety in our bowling to dismiss them cheaply.

  • stuart on February 29, 2012, 21:44 GMT

    Bye Bye. That is not a good technique for test cricket and his record is god awful at first class level.

  • Sharad on February 29, 2012, 15:35 GMT

    He'll be back mentally stronger and much more confident. @Reddy Which replacements are you talking about? Asalu evaru unnaru? Samit Patel? Don't be silly.

  • Jonny on February 29, 2012, 13:03 GMT

    I think Morgan's demise as a promising test cricketer has run parrallel with the development of his trigger movement. Mentally I think he has what it takes to perform but I agree with landl47 that it is his defensive tecnique that is making it impossible for him to score against quality bowling. If you watch where he hits the ball he is often on the move. This is particularly problematic against the seaming ball and swinging ball, Amir and Asif found him out in 10 getting him snicking off whilst on the move. It has now crept into his game against the spinners also as it makes it impossible to use the forward press tecnique the way it was intented. He needs to work on keeping still at the crease and getting into a good base when playing defensivley and offensivley. I don't think this will be the last we see of Morgan and I think his mental toughness will carry him to sure up his tecnique. Everyone goes through poor patches (Alistair Cook in 10) and Morgan will return better than ever.

  • John on February 29, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    @Yougander Reddy, consider the fact that Morgan would be considered by most to be Ireland's best batsman and yet he has been found wanting in Test cricket. If Morgan did go back to Ireland then he would help them win games but I'm not sure that he will help them attain Test status. I would think that, from that point of view, having some Irish-born players actually succeed in Test cricket would be the best advertisement. I'm not saying that I want England to play Irish players but, from an Irish perspective, I'm not sure which path would help Ireland achieve Test status sooner.

  • ian on February 29, 2012, 11:28 GMT

    Sometimes it becomes indisputably apparent that a gifted player is far better suited to one format than another. EM made the cricket world sit up and take notice as he unleashed a range of extraordinary strokes in limited-overs cricket. The (forgivable) mistake was to suppose that this talent could be transplanted into test matches. And look what has happened. The three tests in the UAE so sapped his confidence (and what is confidence but a doubting of one's own technique that must seem like a self-betrayal) that by the time it got to the ODI matches, it was in shreds. It would be kinder, and IMO, more realistic for EM to forget Test matches - perhaps forever. Once he has undergone the necessary psychological rehab. he may well have a great deal to offer England in the shorter formats. There is no shame in that. Indeed, it is a realistic appraisal of the true extent of EM's talents. Genuine self-knowledge is an invaluable asset in all walks of life. All the best to EM on his journey.

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