Vintage Morgan keen to play key role in Middlesex’s challenge for honours
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Eoin Morgan is confident that Middlesex have blown away their early season cobwebs as they prepare for their County Championship clash with Yorkshire.
The Lord’s side made a dreadful start to the campaign as they suffered an innings defeat to Sussex, but then stormed back with a resounding 10-wicket success against Nottinghamshire.
Middlesex’s next test comes when Yorkshire – who beat them twice on their way to claiming the runners-up spot in Division One last season – visit Lord’s for a four-day encounter that begins on Sunday.
And Morgan, whose third-wicket partnership of 203 with centurion Sam Robson laid the foundations for victory over Nottinghamshire, has urged his team-mates to maintain that standard.
“We were a little bit all over the place at Sussex,” said the Middlesex left-hander. “But that was a kick up the backside and we’ve come good in the next game.
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“Every time we’ve started poorly, we have come back well, and that’s the sign of a good side. Those four days [against Nottinghamshire] have been a great template for our summer.
“The closer we can get to performances like that, the better position we’ll be in. But we’re going to have to cut out the bad performances if we’re hunting the championship title throughout this long season.
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“There are a lot of strong sides in Division One at the moment and the standard is really high. Yorkshire will be a challenge again – they’re a good side and they turned us over twice last year.
“It’s about focusing and reinforcing the things that we do well. Everyone knows that it’s much better playing at a club that’s winning more often because you all feed off that.”
Morgan, who posted 86 in that vital stand with Robson (163), is back as a regular member of Middlesex’s four-day side for the first time in around five years.
The 27-year-old lost his ECB central contract at the end of last season, although he remains a key player in the England limited-overs team and featured in the ICC World Twenty20 Cup last month.
And, while Morgan admits it is taking him time to readjust to the County Championship, he is relishing the responsibility of filling the no 4 slot in Middlesex’s batting line-up.
“Considering that for the last seven weeks my game has been all about clearing the ropes, playing spin and hitting areas and gaps, to come back and change your mindset is a little bit difficult,” said Morgan.
“It does take a bit of getting used to, but it’s a challenge that every player in the world these days has to deal with. To play as one of the senior batsmen and take on that role of batting at four or five is fantastic.
“Runs or time at the crease supercedes everything and it was nice to get some runs under my belt, although I would like to have gone on and batted with Robbo for a couple more sessions.
“That wasn’t to be, but he went on and played a magnificent innings and there were partnerships all the way through. I’m striking it quite well and my balance at the crease is good, so it’s all looking positive.”