Captain Morgan insists no rum deal for Irish fans at Malahide
The Irishman captains a new look England side in front of a sell-out crowd in Dublin tomorrow
Eoin Morgan in action during a nets session at Malahide. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images
England have been criticised for sending a weakened squad to Dublin for the RSA Challenge one-day international against Ireland.
The presence of Morgan and possible debutant Boyd Rankin — both former Ireland internationals — in the squad is also a strong reminder of the lure England, with their Test status, have over the best Irish players.
But Morgan, also a former player at host club Malahide, believes it is unfair to say English cricket does not support the Irish game.
He said: “Having played against England in an Ireland shirt I didn’t feel that way at all, and having come back here and played Ireland a couple of years ago, I didn’t get that feeling.
“I have been involved in the England set-up since I was very young. Even when I was still playing for Ireland I was playing for the south of England under-17s, under-19s, the Middlesex Academy and, from there, the Lions. They have always been helpful to me. I know Boyd feels the same way.”
The match has been labelled as the biggest in Irish cricket history, certainly on home soil, and the public seem to have welcomed it.
Morgan insists the England squad’s selection has not cheated the fans and he expects a good contest.
Ireland famously beat England at the 2011 World Cup in Bangalore and the 26-year-old says there will be no complacency.
Morgan, who is leading the side in the absence of rested regular skipper Alastair Cook, said: “I think we have brought a strong side, a young and very talented side.
“Given opportunities, hopefully they will show they are world-beaters. It is very exciting for us to come across here and give these guys opportunities to go and flourish in a game like this. We will certainly not take Ireland for granted.”
England have left out Cook, James Anderson, Ian Bell, Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann from their autumn one-day programme while Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Joe Root are also sitting out the Ireland game.
That offers chances to the likes of Rankin, Michael Carberry, Gary Ballance, James Taylor, Danny Briggs, Ben Stokes, Chris Jordan and Jamie Overton — all relatively unheralded — to make an impression.
Ireland captain William Porterfield, who plays his domestic cricket in England with Warwickshire, feels too much has been made of the visitors’ apparent lack of strength.
Porterfield said: “To be honest I don’t really see where it comes from. They have picked a squad to play to play ourselves and Australia and that is it as far as I am concerned.
“They are putting out as strong a team as they want to put out. They are looking forward to (World Cup) 2015, that is the next big stage for everyone.
“If you look through their side, there are some pretty exciting young players in there. ”If you look at the performances of all those lads, especially in country cricket, they have all got a future in the game.
“I’m guessing they’ll be pretty nervous as well. For a lot of them it’s their first outing in international cricket.
“As exciting and promising as they are, there will be a few nerves floating around there as well.”
For Morgan the match and the forthcoming Australia series provide a chance to put himself back at the forefront of selectors’ minds.
Although he has remained a regular fixture of the one-day side, he has not featured in the Test team since February last year and he is keen to force his way back in.
He said: “There is no doubt I want to continue to try to break back into the Test team. It is just weight of runs and lack of form that has led me to where I am, being dropped. I think one-day runs can help. It was the prime reason I got selected in the first place.”
His immediate aim is to impress back on his home patch. He said: “It makes it a bit different that I am playing in front of most of my family, which doesn’t happen that often. It is quite a nice feeling. I played a lot of club cricket here, won an All Ireland final with Malahide and have some good family memories here.”