Cricket: Morgan wants Middlesex spot back
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Eoin Morgan has reiterated his desire to win back a place in Middlesex’s Specsavers County Championship side for the first time in almost three years.
England’s white-ball captain, currently recovering from a broken thumb sustained facing team-mate Tom Barber in the nets, has not played four-day cricket since July 2015 – when he made a pair against Somerset.
But Morgan is keen to play a part in his county’s Division Two campaign once fit – and stressed that he has never made himself unavailable for red-ball selection.
“That’s certainly not been the case at all,” said the 30-year-old. “Where I’m at, I want to play red-ball cricket and I still think I’ve got something to offer.
“I have done for the last two years and I haven’t been selected, which is just the way it’s gone. This year I’ve trained hard and I did some red-ball stuff while I was in New Zealand over the winter.
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“Red-ball cricket helps my technique – the most vulnerable part of your batting is the first 30 balls. The sooner I can get back to batting, the better.
“I get the thumb X-rayed weekly, to make sure everything’s mending in the right place and there’s no need to pin it. When it’s firmly attached, I can start hitting balls again, probably in about two weeks’ time.”
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The Lord’s side opened their season with a resounding 160-run victory over Northamptonshire, despite an inexperienced batting line-up shorn of Dawid Malan, Nick Gubbins, Stevie Eskinazi and Morgan.
While Middlesex have outlined an immediate return to Division One as their top priority, the squad have also been set a target of reaching the knockout stages in the Royal London One-Day Cup and Vitality Blast.
That might seem optimistic, given the club’s modest performances in limited-overs cricket during the decade since they were crowned national T20 champions.
Morgan added: “We’ve not been unlucky or anything like that, it’s just that we haven’t performed well enough and we’ve not been consistent.
“As a club we’ve always put forward our red-ball cricket as a preference and whether that’s right or wrong doesn’t really matter, but white-ball cricket is always playing second fiddle.
“One of the big differences in the England set-up is that Andrew Strauss came out and made a big deal about white-ball cricket over the last two years and that was a great directive for me and the coach to pass on to the players.
“That made a huge impact and it’s something we are trying to implement at Middlesex as well, but it will take time.”