Saturday, November 14, 2009

Morgan not getting carried away

Cricket: Eoin Morgan insists he is still far from establishing his place in the England team despite turning in another impressive display to help his side beat South Africa in their opening Twenty20 encounter in Johannesburg on Friday.

The Dubliner, who plays his cricket with Middlesex , trained with the rest of his team at Centurion on Saturday ahead of their second 20-over encounter, but there were three notable absentees in Paul Collingwood, James Anderson and Graeme Swann.

The captain sat out practice as a precaution after waking up with a stiff back following his half-century last night, while Anderson - who missed England's final warm-up game against South Africa A last Tuesday due to soreness in his right knee - was also given time off alongside Swann (side).

The trio all face late fitness tests tomorrow, but despite their absence the mood in the camp was still positive after what was their first victory over the Proteas in three Twenty20 attempts.

Morgan was named man-of-the-match after a thrilling 85 not out from 45 balls helped set the tourists up for a one-run win courtesy of the Duckworth/Lewis method.

His second 20-over innings for his country was the highest individual total by an Englishman in the shortest format of the game, surpassing Collingwood's 79 against West Indies in 2007.

After bludgeoning five sixes and seven fours, Morgan still believes he has some to go before he can be recognised as a first-team regular.

He said: "I think it's contributed towards it (establishing a place in the team). Again, I think I'm far from cementing my place in the side. It's a building block towards where I want to be, but I was certainly happy with the way I did play.

"But I've only played a handful of games and I've still a long way to go."

Morgan, who was at the crease for less than an hour, was given good support throughout his stay by his skipper Collingwood (57) as England totalled 202 for six - their best international 20-over total.

The hosts were reduced to 127 for three after 13 overs in response when rain ended the game and despite the manner of victory, it did not dampen England's celebrations.

With one more Twenty20 to come followed by five one-dayers and a four-match Test series, Morgan admitted the win was a massive boost for everyone.

Asked if victory had a positive psychological effect, the 23-year-old said: "Yeah, I think so. It was obviously a good game of cricket and very exciting. We've certainly put a positive slant on the series to come with the way we batted, the way we bowled and the way we fielded."

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