Eoin Morgan is all set to become only the fourth player to have represented two countries in World Cups. His has been as interesting a story as the club of three he joins: Kepler Wessels, Anderson Cummins and Ed Joyce. When he played in the West Indies for Ireland four years ago, he - and all his Irish team-mates for that matter - knew that Ireland was just a milestone along the way. The destination was always England.
Four years on, having fulfilled his dream of playing Tests for England, Morgan had to live with the disappointment of missing out on the other, the World Cup, with a broken finger. Two weeks into the World Cup, when Morgan was planning to go for a Champions League football match later in the week, he got a call from coach Andy Flower. Kevin Pietersen was injured. Morgan was needed. Champions League games can wait.
"Obviously a call from Andy couple of days ago was a great feeling," Morgan said before his first training session in the World Cup. "I have been part of the squad in the past. To come back in, and be part of the World Cup is very exciting."
Morgan almost didn't make it, for the first diagnosis on the finger that he damaged during the one-day series in Australia was that it would need surgery. "The first day I arrived back in London, I saw a specialist," he said. "The first analysis was that we needed an operation, but we wanted to wait a week to see what the progress was, healing and all. After a week, he changed his diagnosis, and from there it has healed quite nicely. It's pretty strong at the moment."
The recuperation time has been spent in training with Middlesex, and in many ways it has come as a welcome break from a tiring schedule. During that down-time, he watched Ireland, the team he last represented, beat England, the team he now represents, and refers to as "we" Mixed emotions there were none. "It was an outstanding innings by Kevin O'Brien. I was pretty distraught that we lost, and didn't get the result that we wanted. Ireland played really well."
Morgan hasn't batted much at all during the break, but he doesn't feel concerned about it. "Personally I don't feel sort of undercooked or underprepared," he said. "I feel very fresh. After nets for a couple of days, my preparation will be pretty similar to what it has been in the past. So I feel ready, yeah."
As expected, Morgan will walk into the side, and return to his favourite No. 5 position, from where he has scored two of his three England hundreds and averages 52.46 as opposed to 40.00 overall. "I mean I have been very successful at No. 5 in the past," he said. "So it's my favourite position to bat. I find coming in the middle overs, being a left-hander and playing spin okay, it's one of the better parts of my game. Yeah I love batting at No. 5."
Being a good player of spin, Morgan brings value to the middle order. Moreover, this is his fourth trip to Bangladesh, which means he shouldn't need much adjustment. "The conditions are always challenging here," he said. "There is different bounce, there is turn in the pitches. The only thing I will have to adjust is to the heat. I hope I can produce some past sort of performances that I have here."
Having had time to think about the ODI series in Australia, Morgan doesn't want to repeat mistakes he made in a disappointing series, in which he mae 106 runs at 17.66. "I didn't play that well," he said. "There have been a couple of games where I gave it away easily. I got out to bad balls. I can learn from that. It was a bad series for me."
Even though he comes in as a result of a big loss to England, Pietersen, there is huge anticipation around the return of Morgan, who has been one of their best in ODIs over the last year or so. Morgan doesn't see that as pressure. "It doesn't really bother me. I don't dwell too much on it," he said. "I am just going to try and play the exact some role I did, and try and sort of execute my skills as much as I can. As long as England are winning, I don't care how much expectation is put on mine or anybody else's shoulders."