Eoin Morgan prioritises limited-overs cricket over Tests
Eoin Morgan, England cricket team's limited-overs captain, says his chance to return to the Test side is all but over as his commitments to the shorter formats of the game has taken precedence.
The Middlesex player, who hasn't played much first-class cricket over the years, came back from 12-week tour of India, where he took England to the final of the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 and was part of the Sunrisers Hyderabad squad who won the ninth edition of the Indian Premier League.
Morgan hasn't played a first-class game since last July and even though he will turn out for Middlesex in the Natwest T20 Blast, he is likely to feature in only a handful of games this season.
"Do I still want to play Test cricket? Absolutely!," Morgan said on Wednesday (June 1). "How I'm going to get there? I'm not sure yet. I would have to cut back my white-ball commitments. And at the moment I don't see it happening because of what's happened for me in white-ball cricket in the last year.
"There is a huge opportunity to take this England side forward. Even if I'm not captain in the future, with the crop of players we have at the moment I still believe we could do something special. And that for me in my career at the moment is my priority.
"I don't play a red-ball game until August, so at the moment it's not at the forefront of my thinking. I average about three or four games a year, for the last six years, so playing it and actually focusing on it when you look at the amount of white-ball cricket I play can be difficult."
According to Morgan, the current England side is young and does not carry the scars of the previous teams. "I remember the first time I went to Australia in 2010-11, the guys who had been there previously all had stories about going there, but a lot of them were bad stories. They had not won over there. The experience of copping it everywhere - out in the crowd or out and about - rubbed off.
"I remember it was quite intimidating hearing it from a senior player or someone who had played 90 Tests. The fact that we don't have that now gives us a bit of a raw factor," Morgan noted.
"Having an unscarred side to do something we've never done before and play in a manner we've never played before has been important. But the way the guys have performed has been outstanding," the 29-year-old said.
The attitude of the current England side is something that has impressed Morgan. "The big thing that's changed is the attitude. The will to always want to be better.
"It's quite easy for a side, when you do well against strong teams, to sit back and reflect on how good you are as a side. But the will to improve in the side is something different that I've experienced in the last 12 months as opposed to the last six years. That's the thing that's changed for me. The character has changed with the personnel. A lot of the guys in the side now are extroverts, but that's just coincidental," he observed.
Morgan also believed that Twenty20 cricket has played a major role in England's success lately. Almost all the players in the squad are from the T20 era. He also mentioned how the domestic 40-over competition has helped the side.
"The 40-over league has a lot to say for itself," Morgan said. "And the manner it was played. In 50-over cricket you often used to have a lull towards the back end for rebuilding. But in 40-over cricket you don't have that. You just keep going. If you lost wickets you might rebuild for five overs. But you kept going.
"A lot of the guys in the team are products of that competition. It's not just T20 cricket that contributes. It's 40-over cricket as well," he concluded.