'An opportunity that can't be missed' - Morgan wants youngsters to play as much franchise cricket as possible
"The USP of T10 cricket is that you can have an eight-ten-team tournament in the space of a couple of weeks"
Back when Eoin Morgan decided to embrace the IPL, in England such a decision was seen as going against the establishment.
When he went to the IPL in 2013, against the wishes of then head coach Andy Flower, after being dropped from the Test side, Morgan recalled Flower calling him and saying, "If you want to get back in the Test team, you have to come back." Morgan, as he told The Cricket Monthly, replied, "No, I'm learning more here for the last two seasons and this season, even if I'm not playing well, [I've learnt more] than I've learned in four years of county cricket. So with all due respect I'm going to take this opportunity."
Morgan has since been a regular at the IPL, and at many other franchise-based leagues around the world - and is a 50-over World Cup-winning captain for England - and now, one of over 20 players from England at the Abu Dhabi T10. He plays for Delhi Bulls. Delhi Bulls are coached by Andy Flower.
"Ten years ago, I didn't ever realise how many franchise leagues there would be around the world," Morgan told ESPNcricinfo. "The level of opportunity that players have now is great.
"I think a young Eoin Morgan, as a 22-23-year-old going to the IPL, it was a huge opportunity for me and I feel like I made the most out of it, learning from other players. But if I rewind to that same Eoin Morgan, having the opportunity to go out there and make mistakes as a young player and go head to head, almost three or four times every winter in different competitions with other people around the world that are really, really good international players, it's an opportunity that can't be missed."
In 2015, Morgan was named England ODI captain (he was already leading in T20Is) and things had changed so much that in England's first match after their abysmal ODI World Cup showing, Morgan was actually in India playing at the IPL.
Andrew Strauss, then England's director of cricket, told ESPNcricinfo later that year: "These leagues are a melting pot of different ideas around white-ball cricket."
Now, Morgan is a veteran of the short-format game, one of the superstars, and someone up-and-coming players relish playing with. It's a constantly changing game, one that Morgan has managed to stay in step with.
"The majority of the younger guys that haven't played a lot of franchise cricket that come to T10 do really well, because they show a new attitude towards addressing what you need to do… it's about eliminating any risk and looking at the challenge that lies ahead of you, without getting upset about it," he said. "I think batters, certainly when I was growing up, would become precious about not getting out, whereas the game is changing at a fast rate.
"The price on your wicket is nowhere near as much as it used to be. I say used to be, that's five years ago… the game has changed so much over the last five years, guys are hitting it further, the fielding is a lot better, and the younger generation is doing that at ease. It's great to see."
On the future of the T10 format and whether it could act as an avenue for cricket to have a seat at the Olympics, Morgan said that it "is at the forefront of challenging the game and where it is".
"It's a format that you can take around the world and the unique selling point about T10 cricket is that you can have an eight-ten-team tournament in the space of a couple of weeks. With the other formats we play, you just can't do that. They're more stressful on the body so having a game a day for 12 days is harder to do in T20 cricket.
"So if you look at platforms it might be able to take advantage of, certainly the Olympics might be one of them."