Morgan defends policy of switching allegiance to England

Ireland coach Phil Simmons hope’s Boyd Rankin will be the last Irish player to make the switch

Boyd Rankin during England’s training session at Malahide CC yesterday.

Boyd Rankin during England’s training session at Malahide CC yesterday.


Eoin Morgan may have grown up dreaming of playing Test cricket for England, but never would he have imagined himself defending a perceived slighting of the country of his birth by the one he will captain in today’s RSA Challenge One-Day International in front of a 10,000 sell-out crowd in Malahide.

That’s exactly what the 26-year-old Dubliner had to do yesterday on the ground where he made his senior club debut as a 13-year-old as claims that England’s sole interest in the development of the game here is to cherry pick the best players to switch shamrock for Three Lions on their shirt.

Boyd Rankin’s inclusion in the squad to play Ireland seems to back up that belief, with the 6ft 8in opening bowler from Bready in Co Tyrone in line to make his ODI debut in Malahide after appearing in two T20 internationals against New Zealand earlier in the summer.

“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 know Boyd feels the same way,” said Morgan, who also captained England in the tight 11-run victory over Ireland at Castle Avenue in 2011.

Possible candidate
Morgan stoked the fire in mentioning exciting Ireland opener Paul Stirling, who celebrates his 23rd birthday today and is a team-mate of Morgan’s at Lord’s, as a possible candidate to make the move in the future, although he still has 18 months before he qualifies.

For Ireland coach Phil Simmons the hope is that Rankin will be the last Irish player that has to make the switch.

“That’s what we’re looking for, hopefully Boyd is the last person,” said Simmons. “You put the things in place and show them you can have a good living here, you can play cricket for your country and still stay at home and be close to everyone and have the kind of support that we will have tomorrow, then they shouldn’t want to go anywhere. But if they still want to go we can’t stop them.”

Morgan leads a young England side shorn of all its Ashes players, bar his Middlesex team-mate Steven Finn, who was dropped after the first Test at Trent Bridge, with up and coming stars such as Gary Ballance and Sussex all-rounder Chris Jordan included.

Ireland skipper William Porterfield believes that their opposition will be keen to impress ahead of the five-match series against Australia, but believes Ireland can take advantage of any nerves in front of what he expects to be a vocal home crowd.

“You can look at the performances of all those lads, especially what they have done in county cricket - they’ve all got a future in the game. I guess they’ll be pretty nervous tomorrow, for a lot of them it will be their first outing in international cricket as well so as exciting and promising as they are, there’ll be a few nerves floating around there as well.”

With Clontarf all-rounder Alex Cusack missing through injury, Simmons will have to decide whether the stronger batting option offered by Andrew White gets the nod ahead of Max Sorensen, who is still to be capped at ODI level, while North County’s Eddie Richardson would be a long shot to make his Ireland debut.
IRELAND (Squad): William Porterfield (Warwickshire), George Dockrell (Somerset), Trent Johnston (YMCA), Ed Joyce (Sussex), John Mooney (North County), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Kevin O’Brien (Railway Union), Niall O’Brien (Leicestershire), Eddie Richardson (North County), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Wilson (Surrey).
ENGLAND (Squad): Eoin Morgan (Middlesex, capt), Gary Ballance (Yorkshire), Ravi Bopara (Essex), Jos Buttler (Somerset, wks), Danny Briggs (Hampshire), Michael Carberry (Hampshire), Steven Finn (Middlesex), Chris Jordan (Sussex), Jamie Overton (Somerset), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Ben Stokes (Durham), James Taylor (Nottinghamshire), James Tredwell (Kent), Luke Wright (Sussex).

Play starts: 10.30am

Live: Sky Sports 2 from 10.0am