Eoin Morgan must fight for England Test return says Andy Flower

 

Team director Andy Flower has warned Eoin Morgan there will be no easy return to England's Test side after being dropped for next month's trip to Sri Lanka.

The Dublin-born batsman has paid the price for a disappointing tour of the United Arab Emirates, where he struggled for runs across all three formats against Pakistan.

While Morgan has plenty of pedigree in one-day international and Twenty20 cricket to fall back on, and remains vice-captain of the side in the shortest form, he has yet to prove himself as a Test batsman.

In 16 matches, and 24 innings, he averages just 30.43 and managed only 82 runs in six knocks in the UAE as spin duo Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman picked holes in his distinctive technique.

He was the major omission from a 16-man party for the two-Test series against Sri Lanka, with his recent understudy Ravi Bopara retained and all-rounder Samit Patel handed the chance to battle for a place.

Morgan was selected ahead of Bopara as Paul Collingwood's replacement last summer despite heading to the Indian Premier League while the Essex man excelled in first-class cricket, but Flower has suggested his route back into the team will not be as straightforward.

"He's had a tough tour of the UAE, we've been here for two months and it's been hard work for him," said Flower, whose side secured a 2-1 T20 success over Pakistan yesterday.

"He has got some work to do I think on his Test game and that's going to be quite difficult for him considering his next cricket is going to be IPL cricket.

"When he comes back he'll have limited exposure to opportunities to get four-day cricket under his belt so he has got to go away and give some serious thought to his method in Test cricket.

"He has been severely tested out there by the Pakistan spinners, as have all our batsmen."

While demotion will be a bitter pill to swallow for a man who quit his native Ireland in a bid to play Test cricket, there were some encouraging words from Flower, who has previously spoken of highly of Morgan's leadership potential.

"I still think he has a very exciting future in Test cricket," Flower continued.

"He's only 25 years old and he's a very talented player, a very confident player and a very dangerous player. If he can get his game in order so that the next time he gets a game in Test cricket he can grab it with both hands then he will fulfil his wishes for his cricket career and England will be a better side for it."

The remainder of the batting unit was as expected, with Patel's steady left-arm spin earning him the nod ahead of the likes of James Taylor, Jos Buttler and Johnny Bairstow.

Surrey's Steven Davies again travels as back-up for first-choice wicketkeeper Matt Prior, while the importance of slow bowling has been underlined by the selection of Kent's James Tredwell, who previous Test experience came in Bangladesh in 2010.

With Graeme Swann, Monty Panesar and Patel also involved, England's spin contingent for the matches in Colombo and Galle is the largest spin contingent in recent memory.

Tredwell is a like-for-like replacement for Swann, who is likely to be complimented by a rejuvenated Panesar.

"I'm pretty sure Sri Lanka will produce spinning conditions for us," said Flower.

"James Tredwell is in the side as cover for Graeme Swann - we think the off spinning position is a very important one and he's there in case Swann goes down with injury or illness.

"I couldn't see them both playing in the XI and Samit Patel gets his first chance in the Test squad. He will be competing for the number six batting spot with Ravi Bopara and it gives us the option of playing a fifth bowler."

The two-Test tour opens with a game against a Sri Lanka Board XI, which starts on March 15.

England then meet a Sri Lanka Cricket Development XI on March 20 with the first Test starting six days later in Galle.

The second Test in Colombo is scheduled for April 3.

Batting coach Graham Gooch, who recently signed a full-time contract with the side, will lead an advance party of seven to Sri Lanka, with the remainder of the squad following on March 10.

The England squad for the two-Test series in Sri Lanka is: AJ Strauss (captain, Middlesex), JM Anderson (Lancashire), IR Bell (Warwickshire), RS Bopara (Essex), TT Bresnan (Yorkshire), SCJ Broad (Nottinghamshire), AN Cook (Essex), SM Davies (Surrey), ST Finn (Middlesex), MS Panesar (Sussex), SR Patel (Nottinghamshire), KP Pietersen (Surrey), MJ Prior (Sussex), GP Swann (Nottinghamshire), JC Tredwell (Kent), IJL Trott (Warwickshire)

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence