herald

Saturday 18 August 2018

Morgan's time to shine in oz

Limited overs will allow Dub to show what he can do

Just when Australia thought it was safe to go back on the field, along comes more danger.

Worst of all, it is not an Englishman but Dubliner Eoin Morgan who should provide them with more misery.

For two months on this tour, he has been awaiting the opportunity to strut his particularly infectious jig.

Denied in the Ashes series because of the spectacular form of the incumbent batsmen, Morgan is now ready to assume his rightful place on the limited-overs stage.

In the course of last year, Morgan scored four hundreds for England -- three in one-day internationals, one in a Test match -- and became one of the most formidable short-form batsmen in the world.

His 17th place in the official rankings severely underestimates his threat as a patient destroyer of opponents.

The limited-overs series, which started in Australia today with the first of two Twenty20 matches, will be followed by a World Cup in which England, for once, seem to have a fighting chance for the title.

Morgan's form will be integral to their progress wherever they play, from Adelaide to Ahmedabad.

Today, England will be attempting to secure a record-breaking eighth successive Twenty20 win.

Both sides are pledging contributions to the disaster fund which has been set up to help the victims of the flooding in Queensland, which by yesterday edged into New South Wales.

The enormity of it and the refusal of the floods to recede have astonished the whole of Australia, and the international cricket there in the next few weeks will be seen as a prism for the relief effort.

By now, Morgan must be bursting out of his seams to get out into the middle. He has faced only 11 balls all tour -- 10 in the match against Victoria, when he drove loosely to slip, and just one at the end of the routine warm-up win against the Prime Minister's XI.

It was not the sort of trip the Dubliner expected.

When England gathered at Heathrow in late October, Morgan was the man in possession of a Test place.

It had been a summer of only intermittent success, however. A well-crafted hundred in difficult circumstances at Trent Bridge was followed by less significant contributions.

Thus, Ian Bell recovered from injury and was preferred at the start of the tour. But Morgan still harboured understandable hopes of playing some part in the Ashes Test series.

He waited and waited. His chance never came.

The batting order remained resolutely unchanged and Morgan must now wait to see if he will take the recent Test retiree Paul Collingwood's place in the Test XI when they regroup in May ahead of home Test series with Sri Lanka and India.

But it is as a breathtaking one-day player that Morgan has prospered.

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